The 2014 World Junior Championships were a smashing success. As Vin Lananna's sights now turn to the 2016 World Indoor Championships, set to be held in Portland, the leader of TrackTown USA lays down his thoughts on bringing the 2019 World Outdoor Championships to Eugene. We support it, Oregon supports it and American track and field support it!
After more than two years of preparation, we reached the finish line of a truly historic event – the first IAAF World Junior Championships ever held on U.S. soil.
When we made our initial presentation to the IAAF, we told them we would have an excited and enthusiastic crowd at Hayward Field; a community that would embrace and welcome the 1,700 athletes representing 167 different countries from around the world; and a volunteer base determined to provide our visitors with the best experience possible.
Today, thanks to all of your efforts, we can proudly proclaim that we not only achieved those goals, we exceeded them. As IAAF General Secretary Essar Gabriel told Register-Guard sports columnist Austin Meek on the final day of the event:
“The promise is delivered.”
The official attendance for the six days of competition was 51,532.
We saw two world junior records, seven championship meet records, and 84 national junior records.
We saw an original musical score, composed by conductor Brian McWhorter and performed by the UO Brass & Percussion Ensemble, played throughout the duration of the men’s 10,000-meter final to cap off the opening ceremonies.
And we saw the world’s biggest international barbecue and dance party after the meet’s final medal ceremony.
To me, however, it was the 1,062 volunteers, the Oregon Track Club officials, the cities and businesses of Eugene and Springfield, the state, county and local governments, the training venue at Lane Community College and the travel gurus at Eugene Cascades & Coast – Travel Lane County, who came together to make this a memorable event.
There were friendly smiles and gracious hospitality exhibited at every turn, not to mention the professional expertise necessary to host a world-class event.
I want to give special recognition to our esteemed partners at USA Track & Field, our friends and co-workers at the University of Oregon and the entire TrackTown USA staff for their tireless efforts and strong leadership throughout the entire event.
Without a doubt, this was a difficult meet to execute, but everyone did a tremendous job, and I couldn’t be prouder.
Believe me, the IAAF – the world’s governing body for the sport of track and field – took notice. Each member of its extended family now has a better understanding of what we mean by the Hayward Field “magic.”
The City of Springfield is to be commended for kicking things off with its athlete welcome party at Island Park on the eve of the competition with food, entertainment and a giant map of the world.
In partnership with the City of Eugene, we ramped up our award-winning sustainability efforts to achieve the highest level of certification possible – Evergreen status – and we are confident we reached those objectives.
The athletes’ village was a huge success.
When you ventured outside the venue and walked around campus, you could see the athletes interacting with one another, playing basketball, soccer and beach volleyball, or simply hanging out together, building lifelong friendships.
It was a festive and joyous atmosphere, and judging by the smiles on the faces of those who stood on the podium and heard their national anthems being played, or cheered on their teammates from the East Grandstand, the meet was a grand success.
Everything I saw, and the feedback I received, affirmed my belief in the popularity of our next global event – the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland.
I think Oregonians will embrace that meet with equal enthusiasm, and provide yet another momentous celebration of the sport.
All of which is a prelude to our most ambitious goal to date - the 2019 IAAF World Championships.
It will be the biggest sporting event in the world that year because there will be no World Cup and no Olympic Games.
Take a moment and imagine how exciting, and how transformational it would be for this community, this state, this country, and for the sport of track and field, if we were to do something as big and audacious as bring the World Championships to TrackTown USA in 2019.
It's almost unthinkable, but with the spirit of volunteerism at our backs,
we can dare to dream big.
President, TrackTown USA