Trials are going back to Track Town

The USATF announced today that the 2016 US Track and Field Olympic Trials will go west again.

Back to Track Town USA, Eugene and Hayward Field for the third straight time.

I can’t disagree with this choice, I think USATF made a wise move, but my heart would’ve loved to see it in Des Moines. Drake Relays is getting a huge commitment from Hy-Vee and becoming one of the biggest meets in the country, but when DSM had the chance to host the US National Championships in 2010 the atmosphere was lack luster. For the NCAA National Championships in 2011 and 2012 The scene was better but the stands were mostly filled with parents of athletes, teammates, etc…

They’ll get another chance this summer with the 2013 US National Championships, with World Championships bids on the line…

Nothing is like Eugene. Everyone in the stands appreciates EVERY event and is super knowledgeable. They are true track fans. Not to mention, people want to make the trip to Eugene. Athletes look forward to it, fans look forward to it, Nike puts on a great show and the performances have been awesome.

I’ll never forget being in Des Moines for the US Championships 10K and it was about 110 degrees on the track. That’s not fair to the competitors, especially when they’re trying to earn an Olympic Team spot.

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Here’s reaction from Des Moines via the Register (full article)

“We’re obviously really disappointed, but we just need to move forward. They’ve told us we would be a city that they would work with and nurture us, to go towards the 2020 Trials.”

“It is my understanding they were very comfortable with Eugene and the job they did in 2012. And although they looked at Des Moines and Drake as a very viable potential future site, there have been a lot of changes at USA Track and Field over the last couple years. They’ve got new leadership there, and I think there’s a good comfort level with Eugene.”

– Greg Edwards, president and CEO of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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Reaction from Oregon via the Statesman Journal

“We are honored and pleased that TrackTown USA will once again welcome the world’s No. 1 team as the athletes select themselves for a spot on Team USA in Rio,”

– Vin Lannana, former Oregon Track & Field coach, Current president of Track Town USA

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Here’s the story from out in Oregon courtesy of the Register Guard

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Official Press Release from USATF

U.S. Olympic Team Trials to return to TrackTown in 2016

SALEM, Ore. – The greatest track meet on U.S. soil will return to TrackTown USA when the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field are contested July 1-10, 2016, in Eugene, Ore. On behalf of USA Track & Field and the U.S. Olympic Committee, USATF CEO Max Siegel made the announcement today on the steps of the Oregon state capitol. He was joined in making the announcement by Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, University of Oregon President Mike Gottfredson, Oregon State Senate President Peter Courtney and TrackTown USA President Vin Lananna.

“Eugene set the bar high for what it means to host an Olympic Trials in 2008, and in 2012 they exceeded anyone’s expectations with a truly spectacular, world-class event,” said USATF CEO Max Siegel. “Local and state organizers cater not only to our athletes, but to track fans as well, and they have redefined the fan experience. As our sport continues to grow nationally, we are pleased to return to TrackTown in 2016.”

The largest national championship track meet in the world, the U.S. Olympic Team Trials hosts more than 1,000 athletes competing for a chance to advance to the Olympic Games as a member of Team USA, the World’s #1 Track & Field Team. The awarding of the 2016 Olympic Trials marks the third consecutive Trials hosted in Eugene and the sixth overall for the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field.

“The USOC is pleased that the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track and Field will be returning to Hayward Field and the University of Oregon in 2016,” said USOC Chief Executive Officer Scott Blackmun. “Outstanding performances in Eugene during the 2008 and 2012 Trials set the stage for incredible success for Team USA in both Beijing and London. We thank USATF for their commitment to making the trials a great event, and thank the people of Eugene for their support of America’s athletes.”

“The State of Oregon embraces the sport of track and field and welcomes the opportunity to once again host those athletes competing to represent Team USA in 2015 and 2016,” said Gov. John Kitzhaber. “The events bring important economic activity to the state and opportunities for Oregonians to cheer on the nation’s finest athletes, including so many who call this ‘home’.”

In 2012, the Olympic Trials and its surrounding festival attracted more than 173,000 paid fans over eight days of competition that were highlighted by Ashton Eaton’s world record in the decathlon.  The fan festival—including an expansive, high-tech interactive zone hosted by Nike – added local entertainment and food, engagement with star athletes, and youth track and field activities to the fan experience.

“We are honored and pleased that TrackTown USA will once again welcome the World’s No. 1 Team as the athletes select themselves for a spot on Team USA in Rio,” said Lananna. “We are excited to partner once again with all stakeholders to make this event a huge success.”

Eugene previously hosted the 1972, 1976, 1980, 2008 and 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, and in 2014 will host the IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships. Hayward Field has played host to 10 NCAA Outdoor Championships and annually hosts standing-room-only crowds for the Nike Prefontaine Classic.

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