PORTLAND, Ore. – For the first time in nearly 30 years, and only the second time in history, the IAAF World Indoor Championships are coming to the United States.
The 16th edition of the biennial meet will be held at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland on March 18-20, 2016.
On Monday, in celebration of the “One Year Out” milestone, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales led a distinguished panel of speakers at a special media event held in a cavernous hall at the OCC adjacent to where the new indoor track and field stadium will be built.
TrackTown USA President Vin Lananna and USATF Chief Public Affairs Officer Jill Geer also addressed the assembled media, athletes, coaches, officials and other invited guests about this historic event. The inaugural IAAF World Indoor Championships were held in Indianapolis in 1987.
Two of the top U.S. track and field athletes – 2012 Olympic silver medalist Jason Richardson and American 400-meter indoor record-holder Phyllis Francis – talked about the passion of Oregon fans and their excitement at getting a chance to compete on the world stage in front of friends and family.
The first official renderings of the new 200-meter banked track and 7,000-seat stadium were unveiled, along with the launch of the Portland 2016 website with preliminary volunteer information.
Besides the three exciting days of competition at the OCC, officials revealed plans for a men’s and women’s Pole Vault Festival that will serve as a thrilling kick-off to the meet, free of charge, on March 17 inside the nearby Moda Center. A full lineup of high school pole vault events will precede the World Indoor Championship competition.
Those two venues – the OCC and Moda Center – will be connected to Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland, where the public will be encouraged to gather throughout the meet for a free Fan Experience, featuring live entertainment, food and beverages, a World Indoor track replica, flag display, youth activities and more.
Besides Richardson and Francis, a 2014 University of Oregon graduate, two Portland-based coaches and several athletes were in attendance to show their support for Portland playing host to the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships. The coaches were Alberto Salazar of Nike Oregon Project and Jerry Schumacher of the Bowerman Track Club.
Among the Oregon-based athletes at the event were Galen Rupp, Mary Cain, Matthew Centrowitz and Cam Levins of NOP; Ryan Hill, Andy Bayer, Elliott Heath and German Fernandez of Bowerman Track Club; Nike’s Ryan Bailey and Joe Morris; and Ben Blankenship of OTC Elite in Eugene.
During the event, USATF’s Geer announced that the OCC indoor track facility will also play host to the 2016 USATF Indoor Track & Field Championships on March 11-12, which serves as the Team USA selection meet for World Indoors.
TrackTown USA President Vin Lananna:
“In doing the research on where this meet could be held, the Oregon Convention Center in Portland emerged as a leading candidate because it provides a blank canvas for an innovative approach to presenting the sport of track and field.”
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales:
“The sport of track and field is in our DNA. It’s who we are. It’s what we love. I’m here to tell you that you will have the full support of the city of Portland in all of the logistical details that we will need to get right in order for this to be a successful event. We have the people, we have the space and we have the welcoming environment.”
USATF’S Jill Geer:
“As a member of the IAAF family, USATF considers it an honor and a privilege to host our fellow federations from around the globe, and the world’s greatest athletes. Thanks to our tremendous partnership with TrackTown USA, we have no doubt that this will be another phenomenal experience for the fans, athletes, officials, volunteers and the people of Portland.”