Track & Field News: David Takes On A Pair Of Goliaths

Even though the USA hosted the first-ever World Indoor Championships, Indianapolis ’87, the world’s most powerful track nation has never—no, really!—hosted the outdoor version of the meet, which is considered the pinnacle of IAAF success.

Indeed, only Stanford (with failed bids for ’99 and ’01) has ever even been advanced as a candidate by the planet’s most powerful track nation.

Eugene, aka TrackTown USA, is seeking to end the drought by bidding for the ’19 version of the meet, fresh off a most succesful staging of the World Junior meet this past July, but is facing formidable opposition.

The Seniors and the Juniors are two vastly different propositions, however, and while by all accounts the Oregon site carried off a wonderfully successful meet for the kids, will the IAAF follow through by choosing historic Hayward Field to host the pros 5 years down the road?

As this is written, an IAAF Commission headed by the estimable Lord Sebastian Coe is in the process of visiting each of the three bidding sites. The IAAF listed the group’s process here:http://www.iaaf.org/news/press-release/barcelona-doha-eugene-evaluation-of-candidate.

The visits began with a tour of Barcelona on October 14–15. The group—which includes not only IAAF staff but also crucial marketing partners—has now moved on to Eugene for October 26–27 before completing its work in Doha on October 30–31.

Did I already use the word “formidable” in discussing Eugene’s competition? That would be to understate the task at hand.

Barcelona, which of course hosted the ’92 Olympics, now has not only a legacy of a stunning collection of infrastructure to front its bid (check out the situation here: http://eldigital.bcn.cat/en/my-new-post-8684_96116.html), but is also regarded as one of the world’s great tourist destinations.

Doha, omigoodness, may have a collection of modern athletic facilities unmatched anywhere on the planet, and is, incomprehensibly, planning on doubling its size in the next 5 years, as this link showshttp://www.insideworldfootball.com/world-cup/62-qatar/15596-aspire-zone-unveils-plans-to-double-its-size-over-next-5-years

Add to that Barcelona’s wealth of high-end hotel space and Doha’s stunning collection of major hotels (when we were there for the ’10 World Indoor it was said they had added no fewer than 30 new buildings in the preceding year) and back that factor up with each having an imposing new modern international airport and the question becomes an elemental one: how can Eugene compete?

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