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.