Vin Lananna

Former Oregon Ducks Head Coach Vin Lananna Set To Coach Team USA At Rio Olympics

When it comes to Tracktown USA, and Eugene, Oregon, former Head Coach Vin Lananna has put his own personal and professional stamp on the moniker. After coaching the Oregon Ducks for thirty-five years he has been an instrumental force in bringing elite Track and Field competitions to Historic Hayward Field, including the Olympic Trials and […]

Former Oregon Ducks Head Coach Vin Lananna Set To Coach Team USA At Rio Olympics – Autzen Zoo – Autzen Zoo – An Oregon Ducks Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and more.

UO music professor composes first original piece of music for an American track event

Spectators at Tuesday’s 10K race in the IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships may not have realized they were part of a unique experiment combining music and sports. TrackTown USA president Vin Lananna commissioned the University of Oregon’s Brian McWhorter to compose an original piece and perform it with a live orchestra.

McWhorter, a nationally renowned trumpet player and professor at the UO, earned degrees from both the UO and Julliard. He has composed pieces for Eugene Ballet, worked with musicians like John Cale of the Velvet Underground and was principal trumpet in the Eugene Symphony in 2008-2009.

McWhorter was reluctant to accept the assignment, because he only had three weeks to write the 30-minute piece of music and rehearse with the musicians. He also explored different styles, like attempting to match the music with the runners’ heartbeats.

Ultimately, he aimed for the surreal version “of what might happen in a Roman coliseum” as his stylistic goal.

“It was kind of cinematic in its approach, because a lot of work I do is for film, so it was a real backdrop,” McWhorter said. “It didn’t have much melody per se. A lot of huge brass chords, but underneath it was percussive, accelerating music. The entire thing sort of had this effect of speeding up constantly. I was trying to push the runners just like the audience pushes them with their clapping.”

The runners found the music helpful during the punishing race. Curtis Anderson, director of communications for TrackTown USA said that this is the first time a live piece of music has been commissioned and performed live for a race, at least in the United States.

“There’s a lot of pain involved in this race and they said it kind of took their mind of it during the rougher patches,” Anderson said. “Every time the runners came around the Bowerman Curve, they ramped it up, and when they went down the back stretch they toned it down. So it was sort of a supportive piece.”

McWhorter was very happy with the way the music turned out, and thought the band sounded amazing. The only disappointment was that people watching the live broadcast couldn’t hear the music because of track meet rules.

However, he says he never intended to write a piece that would stand out, so he didn’t mind that the TV viewers could not hear it.

“The music was for the runners and the audience, and they heard it,” McWhorter said. “It’s not strong music, like people come away humming a tune, but it just sort of filled the mood, and that’s sort of what I was after.”

Coincidentally, the same night of the 10K, a documentary McWhorter was featured in, called “I Live For Art,” won the Silver Award at the Philadelphia International Film Festival. He composed music for the film and was also one of the three artists profiled.

McWhorter said that most of his work involves bringing music into something else, like film or dance.

“This feels like it’s in line with all that, supporting the runners at a track meet,” he said.

Anderson said there’s a good chance they might commission music for a track event again in the future.

Eugene will bid to host 2019 Track and Field World Championships

Although the United States has a tradition of dominating track and field, the International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships for track and field have never been hosted in the country.

But now Eugene — in addition to Barcelona, Spain and Doha, Qatar —  is one of three cities that could host the 2019 IAAF World Championships.

The city of Eugene submitted a letter bidding to host the 2019 Championships to the IAAF in mid-April. According to TrackTown USA President Vin Lananna, the next step is for the IAAF to send out formal bid documents to each of the three cities. Once TrackTown receives these documents, they will begin to determine the feasibility of hosting the event in Eugene.

“A critical part of our process in moving forward will be determining what are the costs associated with all of these financial obligations. At this point, it is far too early to say what those costs might be,” Lananna said.

This event is usually very expensive. Lananna explained that the financial obligations for the host city include travel and housing costs for over 1,800 athletes, team officials and support staff. It also includes security, transportation, insurance, accreditation, facilities and more.

“If we move forward with a bid, we will jointly present the bid to the IAAF in an in-person meeting,” USA Track and Field Chief Public Affairs Officer Jill Geer said. “They will make the choice of who will host.”

The IAAF World Championships is held every two years. In 2015, it will be in Beijing and in 2017, it will be in London.

Because this event has never been hosted in the United States, Lananna said that there were preliminary steps to take before requesting to host this event. That is why Eugene is hosting the IAAF World Junior Championships at Hayward Field this summer. Portland will also be hosting the 2016 World Indoor Championships.

“Over the past two years, the landscape has begun to tilt in favor of a viable U.S. bid, and I believe the timing is right to pursue this renowned event,” Lananna said.

The most decorated runner in University of Oregon track and field history, Jordan Hasay, is a UO alumni who may be eligible to compete at a high-caliber event like this.

“If we were to host the World Championships, not only would it be a huge hometown advantage, but I think it would bring Eugene closer to the world and the world would appreciate the crowd in Eugene,” Hasay said. “The crowd is incredible.”

The final decision will be made by the IAAF Council at its meeting this November in Monaco.

“Today, I believe we are better positioned than ever to make a run for the IAAF’s crown jewel, and because of the rich tradition and history of TrackTown USA and our built-in fan base, historic Hayward Field is the right spot for that meet,” Lananna said.

IAAF General Secretary Essar Gabriel and council member Abby Hoffman visit Hayward Field prior to IAAF World Junior Championships

A warm and sunny day greeted International Association of Athletics Federations General Secretary Essar Gabriel and IAAF Council member Abby Hoffman on their visit to Hayward Field on Thursday in advance of the IAAF World Junior Championships, which will be held at Eugene’s prestigious track and field venue from July 22-27. TrackTown USA president Vin Lananna and Eugene mayor Kitty Piercy hosted Gabriel and Hoffman, and all four spoke at The Powell Plaza entrance to Hayward Field in addition to Springfield mayor Christine Lundberg.

“This summer is going to be really an exciting time, some might say the best year ever for track and field at Hayward Field,” Lananna said in his opening statement. “As you’re standing below these gates here, you might kind of unceremoniously walk through, but this is actually really a great place. So many great things have happened here and this summer is going to be no exception.”

July’s IAAF Junior World Championships will be the first time that the event has ever been held in the United States and Piercy was extremely excited for Eugene to be the host of such a momentous occasion.

“I am very proud to call myself mayor of TrackTown USA,” Piercy said. “We’re looking forward to welcoming the world to our friendly community. I’ve already been boasting to them that not only do we have a lot of talent here, but we’re a very friendly community that will embrace them and make everyone feel welcome in our area.”

Approximately 170 countries from around the globe will be represented at the six-day competition, which will feature the world’s best track and field athletes, age 19 and under. Since its inception in 1986, 17 world record-holders have participated at the IAAF World Junior Championships, including Usain Bolt, David Rudisha and Allyson Felix.

“These are the athletes who will be the stars of tomorrow,” Hoffman said. “Many of them — and you’ll see this when they are performing here this summer — are already very, very outstanding athletes in their own right. So it’s very critical for us that this event be staged in a place that acknowledges the level of performance of these junior athletes and also provides them with the conditions to perform at their best. As I stand here at the gates to Hayward Field, I think it’s fair to say that the iconic and inspiring nature of this venue is going to add a real flavor and extra significance to this particular edition of the World Junior Championships and Athletics.”

Hoffman indicated after opening statements that one of the benefits of Eugene hosting the event was that the athletes would have minimal transportation issues given that they will be housed on the University of Oregon campus.

“Everybody can basically walk from their dorm room to the facility for both training and competition,” Hoffman said. “From that standpoint, it’s really ideal in terms of athletes being able to focus on their competition and not having to worry about logistical impediments like taking buses to travel across the big city.”

“This is history in the making,” Gabriel said. “TrackTown is going to meet the IAAF and I think it’s a proud moment of which we —the representatives of the IAAF— are looking forward to. With 180 nations competing here in the good spirit and taking the baton from Barcelona, Spain of the previous edition. We will be seeing 2,500 team officials and athletes gracing this place and looking to indeed add a page in the history of this great city of Eugene and Springfield. So TrackTown, here we come!”

Follow Chris Mosch on Twitter @chris_mosch

USATF Makes Bid for 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships to Portland

TrackTown USA
TrackTown USA

USA Track & Field will make a bid to bring the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships to Portland with TrackTown USA of Eugene presenting the bid in Monaco on Nov. 15 of this year.

“We’re confident that the state of Oregon is a great place for the sport of track and field,” TrackTown USA president Vin Lananna said in an article by the Register Guard. “I think the heart and soul of the sport is located in Eugene and Hayward Field, and track and field has been prominent in our community for a long, long time.”

The state of Oregon has been center stage for many of the world’s most important track and field events over the past decade including the past two US Olympic Trials and another to come in 2016. Also upcoming will be the IAAF Junior World Championships.

“USATF considers it an honor as well as a duty to try to bring a world championship event back to U.S. soil,” CEO Max Siegel said. “Having hosted two very successful Olympic Trials in 2008 and 2012, TrackTown USA has shown itself to be the premier host of world-class track events in this country.

“We look forward to presenting the bid and continuing to elevate the off-track profile of the United States in the international sports world.”

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IAAF World Junior Championships Coming to Eugene in 2014 (VIDEO)

IAAF World Junior Championships
IAAF World Junior Championships

Things just are better in TrackTown USA. We’re less than a year away from the IAAF World Junior Championships, which will take place at Hayward Field beginning July 22, 2014.

“With exactly one year to go, we are extremely delighted that an IAAF World Championship is returning to the USA next year for the first time since 1992,” said IAAF President Lamine Diack. “This is a major step forward in the promotion of our sport in the country as it is only the third time in history that an IAAF World Athletics Series competition has been staged in the USA, following the 1987 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Indianapolis and the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Boston five years later.”

The 15th Annual IAAF World Junior Championships will play host to the greatest track and field athletes in the world under the age of 20. This event has never been done in the United States and it has been an whopping 22 years since any IAAF has taken place on US soil. So of course they chose Eugene.

“In just one year, the best young athletes in the world will be representing their countries in an electrifying competition at Hayward Field,” said president of TrackTown USA Vin Lananna. “We are excited about this fantastic opportunity to host an international meet that will be unlike any other event we’ve ever held in TrackTown USA.”

It will be a six-day event covering the biggest events in track and field. While it might not be the Olympic Trials, it’s pretty incredible to have another event of this magnitude here locally.

Let the countdown begin!

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Eugene Selected to Host 2016 Olympic Trials

Runners Space
Runners Space

After being host in both 2008 and 2012, Eugene has once again been selected for a third straight time and will be host for the 2016 Olympic Trials.

It’s the first time that Track Town USA has been host for three consecutive trials since it hosted for 1972, 1976 and 1980.

The last trials saw quite a bit of excitement with former Oregon track sensation Ashton Eaton setting a world record in the decathlon. Eaton and a large number of other local athletes will compete again with the hopes of making it to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Nick Symmonds of Springfield is another one those athletes. Symmonds has competed in each of the last Olympics in the 800m and represented team USA with first place finishes.

According to Kari Westlund (CEO of Travel Lane County) the past two trials generated close to $60 million dollars ($28 mil in 2008, $31 mil in 2012) in regional impact. With the continued development of Historic Hayward Field and an expansion of seating available, the number will likely be even higher than in previous trials.

[gn_quote style=”1″]“I don’t think it’s an event that we’ll ever take for granted,” Westlund said. “It’s one that needs to be approached with a great sense of stewardship anytime we’re honored to receive it.”[/gn_quote]

Vin Lananna, president of TrackTown USA and a University of Oregon representative, made the announcement at the State Capitol building in Salem. Lananna and a handful of other representatives accepted the bid from USA Track & Field CEO Max Siegel.

[gn_quote style=”1″]“The 2012 Trials were nothing short of spectacular and we are excited to continue our collaboration with Tracktown and the University of Oregon for what we know will be a spectacular event in 2016,” Siegel said. “Last year, Hayward Field provided the backdrop for our Olympic team which went on to dominate the Olympics in a way that was the best performance in a generation. We believe that bringing the Trials back to TrackTown will prepare the team for an equally impressive performance in Rio de Janeiro.”[/gn_quote]

The Trials will run July 1-10 of 2016 with the Olympics themselves taking place August 5-21. Comment below and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter @EugeneDailyNews

Ducks Women Claim 4th Straight National Championship

The Oregon Ducks women’s indoor track and field team claimed its fourth consecutive national championship in dominating fashion. Oregon finished with a total of 56 points, well above the Kansas Jayhawks (44) and LSU Tigers (43) for second and third place respectively. The Arkansas Razorbacks finished in fourth place, not placing, with 42.5 points.

With the win, the Oregon women’s dynasty is now well ahead of any university team. The Ducks have dominated in track and field since the 1970s, but never before like this with each team seeming to get better and better.

Oregon celebrating with the championship trophy (Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)
Oregon celebrating with the championship trophy
(Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)

“The University of Oregon takes track and field very seriously,” Oregon head coach Vin Lananna said. “We knew we had a chance to win another title and do it close to home. And it’s very satisfying to win again.”

Oregon’s incredible weekend was due in large part to contributions from numerous women on the team.

One making a big splash for the Ducks was junior English Gardner, who has won a title each season she’s been with the program.

[gn_quote style=”1″]”Oregon is trying to make a better name for itself on the sprint side of things,” said Gardner, who was recruited by Oregon associate and sprinters coach Robert Johnson. “We’ve never been seen as a sprinting school and now we’re becoming more of a well-rounded team.”[/gn_quote]

Others with big performances were Jordan Hasay and Alexi Pappas who dominated in the 5,000 meters. Hasay set a school record with a time of 15:40.30, beating former teammate Alex Kosinski‘s time by four seconds.

Oregon senior Brianne Theisen won her fourth consecutive team title and her third straight individual title with 4,536 points in the pentathlon

“Once you’ve won once, it’s not as cool the other times,” Theisen said. “It’s more cool to get the 10 points. I don’t go out there to win another national title. I go out there to get the 10 points for my team. It’s good. I’m happy about the title.”

The Ducks men’s team (22) finished in a tie for sixth place with the University of Arizona. The Arkansas Razorbacks (74) took home first place with the Florida Gators (59) coming in second place. The men last won the national championship in 2009.

Comment below on how impressive you see this mark being. Is this the greatest dynasty in Oregon athletics. Make sure to follow the conversation along on our official Facebook page and on Twitter @EugeneDailyNews