Courtesy: Geoff Thurner
'Track Town USA' looks forward to its fourth Olympic Track and Field Trials in 2008 - and most of any venue in recent history.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. USA Track and Field announced Friday evening that the 2008 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials have been awarded to Eugene, Oregon.
The eight-day meet will be held at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus over the span of June 27-July 6, and will be used as the official selection meet for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, scheduled for Aug. 8-24.
The decision was made by the event site committee after they heard final presentations in the afternoon from bid organizers from Eugene and Sacramento. Several hours of deliberation by the site committee followed and lasted late into the evening.
Members of the Eugene organizing committee on hand in Indianapolis Friday included members of the Oregon Track Club, University of Oregon staff, and area government officials.
"Eugene's bid proposes an unprecedented focus on athletes, and plans for celebrating the sport that will make it a great fan experience," said USATF CEO Craig Masback. "Hayward Field is hallowed ground in our sport and Eugene's vision for what they can do to connect track's past, present and future won the day."
Host of the 1972, '76 and '80 Olympic Trials, Eugene was one of four initial bidders, along with Carson, Calif. (south of LA), Columbus, Ohio, and Sacramento, Calif., while Eugene and Sacramento were announced as the two site finalists in mid-September.
"Deciding between Sacramento and Eugene was a very difficult task, and we'll always be grateful to John (McCasey, Sacramento bid organizer) and his group for their intense interest and enthusiasm for our sport, and for raising the bar in the staging of this event in 2000 and 2004," Masback added.
In its review of Oregon's bid, USA Track and Field's press release noted that Eugene's presentation stressed an athlete-friendly focus and deep community support.
Other elements that sealed Track City USA's selection included several planned improvements, such as Hayward Field seating expansion to accommodate 17,000 spectators, upgrades to warm-up and competition areas, and a commitment to staging expansive new athlete programs over the next four years.
According to reports from Sacramento Sports Commission, the meet could bring approximately $20 million of commerce to area businesses. The event drew 171,000 spectators in 2004 down from the 187,104 fans that attended the same event in Hornet Stadium in 2000 but still better than the previous Olympic Trials attendance record of 151,522, set by Atlanta in 1996.
"We are ecstatic, yet humbled by this tremendous opportunity," said Oregon Track Club President Greg Erwin. "We will do everything in our power to make this the most unforgettable experience for the athletes, the spectators and the people of Oregon."
The University of Oregons Hayward Field keyed Oregons first major bid for the meet since 1992 - an event considered by many media to be even better than the Olympic Games considering the USA's prominence as the world's top track and field team, and its unparalleled depth in the sprint events.
Founded in 1919, Hayward Field stands alone as the nation's most fabled track and field facility thanks to its track and field-only usage and covered grandstands comparable to famous European venues. The stadium entertained its ninth NCAA Championships in 2001 - the most of any collegiate venue in recent history. Previous national collegiate championships were staged in Eugene in 1962, 1964, 1972, 1978, 1984, 1988, 1991 and 1996.
In June 2001, Hayward Field also welcomed its sixth national championship (AAU/TAC/USA), only two years after hosting the 1999 U.S. Championships. The 'Carnegie Hall' of U.S. track and field venues, it also plays host annually to the nation's finest single-day track and field contest, the Prefontaine Classic, which features the top mix of national and international talent on American soil each year.
Other sites to have hosted Olympic Trials include Cambridge, Mass. (1920, 24, 2 , Echo Summit, Calif. (196 , Evanston, Ill. (194 , Indianapolis, Ind. (198 , Los Angeles (1952, 56, 64, 84), New York (1936) and Palo Alto, Calif. (1932, 60).
An official news release from USA Track and Field is also available at the www.USATF.org website at the usatf.org/news/view.aspx?...4_22_17_56 URL address.
Major Collegiate and National Track & Field Events Hosted at Hayward Field
2008 U.S. Olympic Trials
2006 Pacific-10 Conference Championships
2005 NCAA West Regional Championships
2004 USATF Junior Olympic Championships
2001 USA Championships
2001 NCAA Championships
2000 Pacific-10 Conference Championships
1999 USA Championships
1996 NCAA Championships
1993 USA Championships
1992 Pacific-10 Conference Championships
1991 NCAA Championships
1988 NCAA Championships
1986 TAC Championships
1984 NCAA Championships
1980 U.S. Olympic Trials
1980 AIAW (Now NCAA women's) Championships
1978 NCAA Championships
1976 U.S. Olympic Trials
1975 USA/USSR/Poland Decathlon-Pentathlon
1975 Pan American Games Trials
1975 AAU Championships
1973 Pacific-8 Conference Championships
1972 Olympic Trials
1972 NCAA Championships
1971 AAU Championships & Marathon
1968 National Junior Championships
1967 AAWU (Now Pac-10) Championships
1964 NCAA Championships
1962 NCAA Championships
1962 Far West Championships
1960 AAU Decathlon Championships