There is a new American track and field mecca. And it’s not in Texas or Philadelphia.
Our hats are off to the Oregon Track Club, the University of Oregon, local and state governments, and the businesses and citizens who are making this track and field dream a reality.
After a 28-year hiatus, the U.S. track and field Olympic Trials will return to Eugene, Oregon. The world will be watching June 27 to July 6 as these important trials determine the Americans who will be our U.S. track and field team at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.
Who says track doesn’t pay? The Trials alone are expected to attract 17,000 people each day while injecting $18 million in direct spending related to the competition in Eugene.
Local business leaders and track enthusiasts have built the nation’s new “track capital.” Nearly $8 million in improvements are underway at Hayward Field, including a new infield, track surface and television-quality scoreboard– ultimately establishing Hayward as a premier international track and field venue.
Not to be outdone by spectacles familiar to fans at Texas or Penn Relays, Eugene will pull out all the stops, including The Eugene ’08 Festival. This will be an event-long exposition and entertainment experience with local food, beer, wine and performers. The festival, which will be free to the public, will also have video boards showing the competition in real time.
Eugene has also been awarded four other elite track meets that will make the city another $22 million in direct spending.
This development is a huge opportunity for track and field. It’s a chance to attract families, engage children and meet the high expectations of the experienced track fan. The world will be watching – but will your neighbors?
Future Track Meets Scheduled for Hayward Field
- 2009 USA Outdoor Championships
- 2010 NCAA Championship
- 2011 USA Outdoor Championships
- 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials
By Jay Hicks, a.k.a. Track Evangelist