Eugene 16: Olympic trials return to TrackTown in 2016

Eugene 16: Olympic trials return to TrackTown in 2016 »Play Video
From left to right: Bill Bowerman, Steve Prefontaine, the Eugene 08 logo, Vin Lananna and the Track Town USA sign at the Eugene city limits.

EUGENE, Ore.  (AP) — Eugene 16? State and local officials announced Thursday that Eugene will host the 2016 USA Track and Field Olympic Trials.

This will be Eugene's sixth time hosting the Olympic track trials.

"We believe bringing the trials back to Track Town will prepare the team for an equally impressive performance in Rio," USA Track & Field chief executive officer Max Siegel said at a news conference.

The city is known for its involvement with track and field, earning it the moniker Track Town, USA.

Eugene 08 andTrackTown12 brought thousands of visitors and millions of dollars in spending to the area

Eugene has played host to the trials in 1972, 1976, 1980, 2008 and 2012.

"In 2012 the trials were nothing short of spectacular," Siegel said. USA Track & Field is the umbrella organization that oversees the sport of track and field in the U.S.

At the news conference, Gov. John Kitzhaber officially accepted the offer to host the trials. He was joined by University of Oregon President Michael Gottfredson, Senate President Peter Courtney, House Speaker Tina Kotek, and Vin Lananna, president of the TrackTown USA organization.

"The state of Oregon really embraces the sport of track and field," Kitzhaber said. "It's in our DNA."

Kitzhaber said the trials would have a positive economic impact on local communities in the state.

Eugene, Oregon's second-largest city, has a long history with track and field. Eugene is where Nike Inc. was founded, and where several star runners have gotten their start.

At the trials, athletes from around the country compete for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

The 2016 Summer Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro from Aug. 5 to 21.

This is a developing story. Watch KVAL News and for updates


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Press release from USATF

The greatest track meet on U.S. soil will return to TrackTown USA when the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field are contested July 1-10, 2016, in Eugene, Ore. On behalf of USA Track & Field and the U.S. Olympic Committee, USATF CEO Max Siegel made the announcement today on the steps of the Oregon state capitol. He was joined in making the announcement by Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, University of Oregon President Mike Gottfredson, Oregon State Senate President Peter Courtney and TrackTown USA President Vin Lananna.

“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. “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.”

The largest national championship track meet in the world, the U.S. Olympic Team Trials hosts more than 1,000 athletes competing for a chance to advance to the Olympic Games as a member of Team USA, the World’s #1 Track & Field Team. The awarding of the 2016 Olympic Trials marks the third consecutive Trials hosted in Eugene and the sixth overall for the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field.

“The USOC is pleased that the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track and Field will be returning to Hayward Field and the University of Oregon in 2016,” said USOC Chief Executive Officer Scott Blackmun. “Outstanding performances in Eugene during the 2008 and 2012 Trials set the stage for incredible success for Team USA in both Beijing and London. We thank USATF for their commitment to making the trials a great event, and thank the people of Eugene for their support of America’s athletes.”

“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. “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’.”

In 2012, the Olympic Trials and its surrounding festival attracted more than 173,000 paid fans over eight days of competition that were highlighted by Ashton Eaton’s world record in the decathlon.  The fan festival—including an expansive, high-tech interactive zone hosted by Nike – added local entertainment and food, engagement with star athletes, and youth track and field activities to the fan experience.

“We are honored and pleased that TrackTown 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 Lananna. “We are excited to partner once again with all stakeholders to make this event a huge success.”

Eugene previously hosted the 1972, 1976, 1980, 2008 and 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, and in 2014 will host the IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships. Hayward Field has played host to 10 NCAA Outdoor Championships and annually hosts standing-room-only crowds for the Nike Prefontaine Classic.