April 1, 2019
USATF announced this morning that the distance events for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials will be staged at the Boston University Track & Tennis Center. Originally scheduled for the newly rebuilt Hayward Field from June 19-28, 2020, the move affects the 1500, 5,000, and 10,000 meters (the 3,000-meter steeplechase will remain at Hayward Field).
The meet schedule will not change, however, making this — to LetsRun.com’s knowledge — the first indoor track meet in North America staged in the month of June.
USATF CEO Max Siegel explained that the move was in response to the IAAF’s decision to make the 2020 Olympic qualifying standards more difficult than previous years.
“The IAAF’s standards are so tough to hit now that we wanted to ensure that all of our distance runners had an opportunity to hit the standard at the Trials,” Siegel said. “That wasn’t going to happen at Hayward Field, even with all of Uncle Phil’s money. But if Johnny Gregorek can run 3:49 at BU, I am sure that none of our Olympians will have trouble hitting the standards they need there.”
When informed that U.S. athletes do not need the Olympic standard to compete in Tokyo and could potentially qualify via their world rank, Siegel responded, “What?”
This marks the third time the Olympic Trials have been moved; USATF initially awarded the 2020 Trials to Mt. SAC in June 2017 before re-awarding them to Eugene in August 2018. Siegel said that he “double-pinkie swears” the 1500, 5,000, and 10,000 will be held in Boston.
Siegel also said that the move was motivated in part by the decision of several top American distance runners such as Courtney Frerichs, Karissa Schweizer, Hillary Bor, and Emmanuel Bor to skip USA Indoors and run a time trial in Boston instead.
“Since these athletes would rather run at BU than at their national championship, we decided to force their hand,” Siegel said. “Now they have to run.”
Siegel also said that USATF would “probably” let American athletes know USATF’s Olympic selection policy “at some point” next year.
“I’m sure we’ll get around to it eventually,” Siegel said. “When are the Marathon Trials? February? Shit, those guys may be out of luck. But I’m 90% sure we’ll have a policy in place by June 2020.”