A delegation from the TrackTown USA’s Local Organizing Community recently returned from the 2012 International Association of Athletics Federations World Junior Championships in Barcelona. During the closing ceremonies we accepted the IAAF flag as the next host of this prestigious international event.
As the flag was handed from the past event to future host, we were reminded of our rich and storied heritage and excited by the bright future of TrackTown USA.
During the competition, our group had the opportunity to observe Barcelona’s organizing community and the IAAF as they welcomed representatives of 184 countries and 2,700 athletes from around the world to the site of the 1992 Olympic Games. As the national anthems of different countries played during the medal ceremonies, we recognized that in 2014 the world of track and field will be celebrated by our community.
We left the competition knowing this will be an incredible event for all of us, and we are preparing historic Hayward Field to welcome the world to TrackTown USA.
As we watch the London 2012 Olympics, we can take collective pride in knowing Team USA selected its track and field athletes here in our community at June’s U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. Our volunteers, the University of Oregon, our local, county and statewide government agencies, the Oregon Track Club and all of its stakeholders, and our renowned spectators created an exciting environment for the selection of the World’s No. 1 Team as it competed in The Best Meet Ever.
The resounding success of TrackTown12 provides a wonderful opportunity for civic pride and community building. Our community welcomed the U.S. athletes, coaches, officials and fans, and they lived in our hotels, ate in our restaurants, experienced our university, visited our local attractions and connected with us every day at historic Hayward Field.
We are proud of this event and everyone who helped make it happen. A record number of fans attended the meet and were treated to outstanding performances that were highlighted by a world record in the decathlon by Oregon native Ashton Eaton.
The TrackTown Festival was free to everyone, provided entertainment for all ages and highlighted our community partners. The festival stage showcased local and national music acts and celebrated Olympic Trials’ athletes as well as the people of TrackTown USA. Special cheers were heard each day for our athletes from the state of Oregon.
Behind the scenes, we raised the bar on our sustainability efforts and continued to reduce waste and emissions in all areas of the 2012 Olympic Trials. And with increased seating for 2012 we provided more access to the event to underserved youth and disadvantaged families.
Once again TrackTown USA demonstrated that we are proud of our sport, and that we support our athletes in every event and care for our community in every way.
Over the next two years we are thrilled to have the opportunity to host the 2013 and 2014 NCAA Championships. And in 2014, we will join the UO in welcoming the world to Hayward Field on July 21 for the IAAF World Junior Championships.
Our future as the epicenter for track and field has never been stronger, and we express our appreciation to our entire TrackTown USA community for its support in hosting TrackTown12 and making the 2012 Olympic Trials the Best Meet Ever.
Enjoy the 2012 London Olympic Games. We look forward to working with you as we build for the future and on our legacy as a leader in our sport.
Greg Erwin and Vin Lananna are co-chairmen of TrackTown12. Lananna is associate athletic director and track and field coach at the University of Oregon. Erwin is managing partner of the Erwin Martin Rexius Group of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.