By David Monti
(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
April 11, 2013
In an announcement today made on the steps of the Oregon state capitol in Salem, officials from USA Track & Field and Track Town USA said that the 2016 USA Olympic Trials would once again be held at the University of Oregon in Eugene. This will be the sixth time the meet will be held there since 1972.
“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, who also selected Eugene for the 2015 national championships. “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 Track Town in 2016.”
Today’s announcement confirms the story published yesterday in the Eugene Register-Guard which, based on anonymous sources, reported that the Trials would return to Eugene, a huge point of pride for the city of 157,000 which has cherished track and field through decades of memorable meetings at historic Hayward Field. The 2012 meet, which was held in mostly rainy weather, selected the Olympic team which won 29 medals at the London Olympics, the most of any country within athletics, and showcased many Oregon-based athletes, including decathlete Ashton Eaton who set a world record during the meet.
“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 who also spoke at the announcement. “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.'”
The 2016 Trials will once again have a ten-day format, beginning on Friday, July 1, and run through run through Sunday, July 10. Although a specific schedule was not announced, it is likely that there will be a two days off between the anchoring weekends (in 2012 it was Tuesday and Wednesday). The Trials will start about a week later than they did in 2012 which should improve the odds of dry weather.
“We are honored and pleased that Track Town 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 Track Town USA president Vin Lananna, the former head coach at the University of Oregon. “We are excited to partner once again with all stakeholders to make this event a huge success.”