Eugene, Oregon. They call this city “Track Town USA”, in reference to the passion this city boasts of track and field.
For no other reason than the first World Cup organized by the United States in Tracktown, USA.
“Eugene loves track and field athletes and has a long tradition of athletic athletes and coaches,” global volunteer and University of Oregon alumnus Steve Stikes said of the city of 172,000.
Eugene and Hayward Fields also hosted the NCAA and US National Championships this summer, as well as the Prefontaine Classic which is part of the Diamond League schedule. The stadium is part of Oregon State University.
Stakes said two people formed the track in Eugene, long-distance runner Steve Prefontaine and coach Bill Bowerman. Others who have made Eugene shine include long-distance runners Mary Decker and Alberto Salazar.
Prefontaine was a long-distance runner with a giant heart, as history describes him. He died tragically in 1975. Bowerman was a track and field coach at the University of Oregon and named the award that honors the NCAA top athlete after each season.
Hayward Fields was rebuilt in 2019 with the aim of hosting the World Cup. The old stadium that was home to the University of Oregon was demolished to make way for the new $270 million Hayward Field that added an indoor warm-up track and 12,500-seat space.
The new stadium loses the nostalgia of the old stadium, which opened for athletics in 1921, but has been remodeled in favor of sports stars: the athletes.
“I don’t like it. I’ve been coming here since the ’70s, but it’s a great facility for athletes,” Stakes said.
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