INDIANAPOLIS - Returning the country's most prestigious pre-Olympic event to one of the most hallowed sites in the sport, USA Track & Field on Friday awarded the 2008 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials to Eugene, Ore.
The host of the 1972, '76 and '80 Olympic Trials and the 1999 and 2001 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the University of Oregon's Hayward Field will be the site of the 2008 Olympic Trials, where the roster for Team USA will be selected for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The Olympic Trials will be held from June 27-July 6, 2008.
"Eugene's bid proposes an unprecedented focus on athletes, and plans for celebrating the sport that will make it a great fan experience," said USATF CEO Craig Masback. "Hayward Field is hallowed ground in our sport and Eugene's vision for what they can do to connect track's past, present and future won the day. All of us at USA Track & Field congratulate John McCasey and the Sacramento Sports Commission for offering a tremendous bid to host the 2008 Olympic Trials. Deciding between Sacramento and Eugene was a very difficult task, and we'll always be grateful to John and his group for their intense interest and enthusiasm for our sport, and for raising the bar in the staging of this event in 2000 and 2004," Masback added.
Submitted by the Oregon Track Club, Eugene's bid for the Olympic Trials stressed an athlete-friendly focus and deep community support. Key elements of Eugene's bid included expanding seating at Hayward Field to up to 17,000 spectators, upgrading the entire warm-up and competition area, implementing an upgrade to media facilities and staging expansive new athlete programs over the next four years.
"We are ecstatic, yet humbled by this tremendous opportunity," said Oregon Track club President Greg Erwin." We will do everything in our power to make this the most unforgettable experience for the athletes, the spectators and the people of Oregon."
The site of the most prestigious invitational track meet in the country, the Nike Prefontaine Classic, Eugene has long been dubbed "Track Town, USA" for its rich track and field history and the community's appreciation of the sport. The Nike Prefontaine Classic regularly draws standing-room-only crowds, while athletes consistently rate Hayward Field as having one of the most compelling atmospheres of any stadium in the world.
The largest national championship track meet in the world, the U.S. Olympic Trials hosts more than 1,000 athletes as they compete for the right to represent Team USA at the Olympic Games. More than 350,000 fans attended the last two Olympic Trials in Sacramento, and at each edition of the meet, more than 1,000 members of the media from around the world cover the event while thousands of volunteers and officials provide support.
Other finalists to host the 2008 Olympic Trials were Sacramento, Los Angeles/Carson, Calif., and Columbus, Ohio.
For more information on USATF, visit www.usatf.org