I like running sprints, organizing sprints, and making sprint maps, so I like this thread.
The Seattle tournament (the finals are one month from today, btw!) promises great maps
and very photogenic locales
(and last year, a lot of really really fast runners, including a WOC medalist). And I'd be all for it being a part of whatever.
That said, I think sprints are a tough sell to a lot of existing orienteers, so we'd want to think about outreach to make this a success.
I don't like the idea of explicitly removing sprint from SML weekends... One advantage of the SML format is that it can be a vessel for cross-pollination. Even with the split WOC, we should avoid making the sprint discipline and forest disciplines two separate sports.... maintaining SML will encourage sprint folks to try running in the woods and vice versa.
I don't think this is too much of a problem, honestly. If you look at the best
Olympic sport, volleyball, they have two completely separate events (indoor and beach) and there's virtually no cross-pollination at any level. Some people like both, and some people like just one.
With a SML, it's easy to get the pro-woods people to try a sprint: 90% of their "on the clock" time is already in the woods, so they won't complain about a "bonus" third event at a venue that sometimes isn't a great sprint venue (but hey, it's convenient to the woods). But it's a harder sell for pro-urban people to try woods events at a SML. Come for one possibly decent sprint, and stay for two slogs through the woods?
I guess my point is, it's a lot easier to cross-pollinate in one direction than the other. And we're talking national level events here. I'd imagine that most people figure out what they like better at local events, which are a mix of everything.