Eugene first U.S. city to host World Junior Track Championships

Eugene first U.S. city to host World Junior Track Championships »Play Video
Flags of participating nations fly at Hayward Field in Eugene

EUGENE, Ore. - The track world - literally - has arrived in TrackTown USA with this week's IAAF World Junior Championships, dubbed Oregon 14.

"We may not be a large city Barcelona or New York City for that matter, but what we are is a city that believes in the sport and has for many, many years," said Vin Lananna, president of TrackTown USA.

That belief started a bid three years ago to bring the World Juniors to Eugene.

Eugene becomes the first city to host the event in the U.S.

"No other city has this kind of cachet, no other city has this sort of feel about track and field in this country," said Stephanie Hightower, the USA Track and Field president.

From getting the athletes their room assignments to showing the teams around the area, nearly a thousand volunteers are making sure everything runs smoothly.

"It's a huge community effort, and it goes beyond Eugene even," said Ian Dobson with TrackTown USA. "Most of our volunteers are local, but we have people from all around the state and country who have pitched in."

With their eyes set on hosting the World Championships in 2019, the pressure is on this week to showcase eveything Eugene has to offer.

"The pressure is on in a totally positive way," Dobson said. "I think we're totally well prepared, everything is going great so far, I think it's more of a chance to show off what we can do here."

"We promised them that we would deliver one heck of a championship," Lanana said. "I can't wait to get started tomorrow."