Max Siegel, the CEO of USA Track and Field, picked UO Day at the Capitol as the venue to announce that the Olympic Track and Field Trials will be held at historic Hayward Field in 2016 – the third straight trials to be held in TrackTown USA.
"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," Siegel said. "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."
UO President Michael Gottfredson and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber responded to Siegel's announcement at the State Capitol in Salem, calling it a great honor for the UO and the city of Eugene and a huge opportunity for the entire state.
Kitzhaber said the economic impact of the 2012 Olympic Trials was estimated at $37 million, and the 2016 version is likely to bring even more money to Eugene-Springfield and the state of Oregon. He also pointed out that nearly 30 Oregonians with local ties competed in the London Olympic Games, and that three native Oregonians – Ashton Eaton, Galen Rupp and Ryan Bailey – earned Olympic medals.
"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 2016," the governor said. "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.'"
Gottfredson accepted the selection of Hayward Field on behalf of the UO, citing the facility's long history of hosting the Trials. The event was held at Hayward in 1972, 1976 and 1980, then returned in 2008 and 2012.
The UO president said local track fans will welcome the opportunity to serve as hosts for the 2016 Olympic Trials – and the 2015 USA Championships.
Vin Lananna, UO associate athletic director and president of TrackTown USA, invoked the memory of legendary Oregon coach Bill Bowerman, who brought the first Olympic Trials to Eugene and helped establish the city as TrackTown USA. Lananna said the TrackTown spirit spread at the 2012 Trials, with volunteers coming from all 50 states and Canada, along with more than 400 national and international media members.
He said the university and city of Eugene look forward to welcoming back "all the Track Town USA citizens from around the country and the world" in 2016.
- from the UO Office of Strategic Communications