Eugene, Oregon, is poised to reclaim its role as the epicenter of American track and field, as the United States Track and Field (USATF) has recently announced that the 2024 US Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field will return to this illustrious city. This marks the fifth consecutive time Eugene has been granted the honor of hosting this prestigious event. The dates to mark on your calendar are June 21 to June 30, 2024, while the Olympic track and field competitions will unfold on August 1 in Paris.
Eugene’s newly revamped Hayward Field has firmly established itself as the nation’s premier track and field stadium since its unveiling in 2020. No other venue has had the privilege of hosting the US championships during this period, cementing Hayward Field’s reputation as the heart of American track and field.
In 2024, Hayward Field will play host to an extraordinary series of events, attracting athletes and fans from across the nation. The event schedule for 2024 is as follows:
- May 25: Prefontaine Classic
- June 5-8: NCAA championships
- June 21-30: US Olympic Trials
Eugene’s success as a host city is not only attributed to its world-class facilities but also its proficient local organizing committee, known as TrackTown USA. Renowned for its expertise in orchestrating large-scale track and field events, TrackTown USA is an integral part of the city’s success in this regard. With the state-of-the-art infrastructure at Hayward Field and the experienced team overseeing the proceedings, the 2024 Olympic Trials are primed to be a resounding success, upholding Eugene’s legacy of excellence.
However, within the track and field community, there have been ongoing discussions regarding the frequency of Eugene’s selection as the host city for major events. Over the past four years, from 2021 to 2024, nearly every significant track meet in the US will have been held at Hayward Field, including the monumental 2022 World Championships.
While the Prefontaine Classic and NCAA championships have firmly established Eugene as their home, some argue that the US Olympic Trials should rotate among different cities more frequently. The allure of visiting Eugene may have diminished for ardent track fans who have already experienced its charm, especially considering the expenses and logistics involved in traveling to the city.
In the past, the Trials have thrived in various locations, drawing substantial crowds. The allure of anything associated with the Olympics in the United States is undeniable, and track and field events held elsewhere have demonstrated their ability to attract substantial audiences.
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The question of why Eugene is consistently chosen as the host city remains a topic of discussion. According to Will Leer, chair of the USATF Athlete Advisory Committee, Eugene consistently submits the most compelling bid. The process of awarding championships involves competitive bids, and Eugene’s track record in hosting, combined with its world-class facilities and the capabilities of its local organizing committee, makes it a formidable contender.
While Eugene undoubtedly has much to offer, the question of whether other cities possess the capability and desire to host these events continues to be explored. The decision is not solely in the hands of USATF but also depends on the availability of suitable facilities and the willingness of local organizing committees to invest the necessary resources.
Eugene made significant investments to host the 2020 Trials, including a non-refundable rights fee of $500,000 and a total prize purse of $1.4 million. Additionally, they committed $1.1 million for athlete support during the meet, as decided by USATF.
As Eugene continues to shine as a host city, the debate over the frequency of hosting major track and field events in the US is likely to persist. While tradition and excellence have become synonymous with Eugene, the question of diversifying event locations remains a thought-provoking one for the future of American track and field.