Oregon’s track and field greats honored through WCH Oregon22 Heritage Trail project
The World Athletics Championships Oregon22, in collaboration with the Museum of World Athletics and Travel Lane County, is proud to announce the creation of the Oregon22 Heritage Trail across the state of Oregon.
In honor of the first World Athletics Championships in the United States, the Oregon22 Heritage Trail is honoring 22 of the state’s iconic track and field stars with commemorative plaques developed by the Museum of World Athletics (MOWA). The plaques will be located in the athletes’ hometowns or at locations that were meaningful to the athletes.
“The goals of this legacy project are to create a commemorative and permanent reminder of the World Athletics Championships coming to Oregon,” said Kari Westlund, the President and CEO of Travel Lane County. “We want to connect Oregonians and visitors to our state to these incredible athletes not just during the event, but for years to come.”
“It is our hope that through this project we can educate and inspire the public about Oregon’s deep connections to track and field through its many global medalists from communities of all sizes,” added Sarah Massey, CEO of Oregon22. “We want this trail to serve as a reminder to all Oregonians, and especially youth, to dream big.”
Oregon22 Heritage Trail plaque eligibility was based on four criteria: achieving global medal status, no doping violations or connection to doping, retired from professional competition, and a resident connection to Oregon before or beyond college competition.
The eight women and 14 men selected to be part of the Oregon22 Heritage Trail have combined for nine Olympic gold medals, four Olympic silver medals, eight Olympic bronze medals and numerous indoor and outdoor World Athletics Championships medals. Goodwill Games medalists and World Cross Country Championships medalists are also being honored. A full list of the honorees can be found below.
MOWA, which developed the plaques, is a 3D virtual museum of athletics that takes people on an interactive journey through the history of track and field, highlighting legends such as Jesse Owens and Allyson Felix. MOWA launched an in-person heritage exhibit in Pioneer Place in Portland in early April, with a second in-person exhibit due to open at the University of Oregon in Eugene on June 23.
The Oregon22 Heritage Trail honorees are:
MARGARET JOHNSON BAILES
Margaret Johnson Bailes won a gold medal in the 4x100m relay on the world-record setting U.S. team at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City when she was a Churchill High School senior. Johnson Bailes also made the finals of the 100m and 200m at the Mexico City Olympics.
Plaque location: Margaret Johnson Bailes Track at the Arts and Technology Academy, Eugene.
Joni Huntley won a bronze medal in the high jump at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Huntley also won the gold medal at the 1975 Pan American Games and a silver at the 1983 Pan Am Games.
Plaque location: Sheridan High School, Sheridan.
CATHIE TWOMEY BELLAMY
Cathie Twomey Bellamy won a gold medal at the 1984 World Cross Country Championships.
Plaque location: Amazon Trail, Eugene.
Annette Peters won the bronze medal in the 3,000m at the 1994 Goodwill Games.
Plaque location: Coburg City Park (tentative).
Maria Mutola, representing Mozambique, was the 1996 Olympic bronze medalist in the 800m and the 2000 Olympic gold medalist. Mutola was also a three-time outdoor World Athletics Championships gold medalist and a seven-time indoor World Athletics Championships gold medalist.
Plaque location: Shana Barr Trail Marker, at Willamalane, Springfield.
KELLY BLAIR LABOUNTY
Kelly Blair LaBounty won the bronze medal in the heptathlon at the 1998 Goodwill Games.
Plaque location: Charnal Mulligan Park, Eugene.
Shalane Flanagan was the 2008 Olympic silver medalist in the 10,000m. Flanagan also won a bronze medal in the 2011 IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
Plaque location: George Rogers Park, Lake Oswego.
Brianne Theisen-Eaton, representing Canada, was the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist in the heptathlon. Theisen-Eaton also was silver medalist at the 2013 and 2015 outdoor World Athletics Championships. In the indoor pentathlon, Theisen-Eaton was the 2014 World Athletics Championships silver medalist and the 2016 World Athletics Championships gold medalist.
Plaque location: pending.
H.W. Kerrigan was Oregon’s first Olympian and won a bronze medal in the high jump at the 1906 Olympics or 1906 Intercalated Games. The 1906 Intercalated Games came halfway between the 1904 and 1908 Olympics and were referred to as the “Second International Olympic Games” by the International Olympic Committee.
Plaque location: Shelton McMurphey House, as part of 2022 summer historic track and field exhibit, Eugene.
A.C. Gilbert won the pole vault at the 1908 Olympics. Gilbert, who invented numerous things throughout his life, invented the pole vault box where pole vaulters now plant their pole as they try and scale new heights.
Plaque location: Gilbert House Children’s Museum, Salem.
Dan Kelly was the 1908 Olympic silver medalist in the long jump and Oregon’s only Olympic track and field medalist from Eastern Oregon.
Plaque location: Baker High School, Baker City.
Forrest Smithson was the first of two Portland residents with back-to-back Olympic medals in the 110m hurdles when he won the gold medal at the 1908 London Olympics.
Plaque location: Corvallis Visitor Center, Corvallis.
Martin Hawkins became the second Portland resident to medal in the 110m hurdles with a bronze medal at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden.
Plaque location: Sport Oregon Building, Portland.
Ralph Hill was the first U.S. man to medal in the 5,000m at the Olympics when he won the silver medal at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.
Plaque location: Hill-O'Brien Field, Henley High School, Klamath Falls.
Bill Dellinger succeeded Bill Bowerman as the University of Oregon men’s track and field coach, but before that, the Springfield High School graduate was one of the best distance runners in the world. He won the bronze medal in the 5,000m at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
Plaque location: Springfield High School.
Dick Fosbury won the gold medal in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. His style of jumping, where he went over the bar back-first, was known as the Fosbury Flop and revolutionized the event.
Plaque location: Lithia and Driveway Fields, Medford.
Mac Wilkins continued the U.S. tradition of discus excellence at the Olympics with a gold medal in the 1976 Montreal Olympics and a bronze medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
Plaque location: Beaverton High School, Beaverton.
Dave Johnson was the first U.S. man to medal in an Olympic decathlon in 16 years when he took the bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Plaque location: Crescent Valley High School, Corvallis.
Lance Deal gave the U.S. its first Olympic medal in the hammer throw since 1956 when he won the silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Deal also was the 1999 Pan American Games gold medalist.
Plaque location: Alton Baker Park, Eugene
Dan O’Brien joined a long list of U.S. decathlon greats when he won the gold medal in the 10-event discipline at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. O’Brien won the gold medal at the 1991, 1993 and 1995 outdoor World Athletics Championships, and the heptathlon at the 1993 indoor World Athletics Championships. O’Brien also won the gold medal at the 1994 and 1998 Goodwill Games, and a silver medal in the 1990 Goodwill Games.
Plaque location: Hill-O'Brien Field, Henley High School, Klamath Falls.
Ashton Eaton joined Bob Mathias as the only American men to win the Olympic decathlon twice when Eaton brought home gold medals from the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Eaton was also the outdoor World Athletics Championships gold medalist in 2013 and 2015, and the 2011 silver medalist. Indoors, Eaton won heptathlon gold medals at the World Athletics Championships in 2012, 2014, and 2016.
Plaque location: Pilot Butte Middle School, Bend.
Nick Symmonds was an NCAA Division III star at Willamette University in Salem before becoming the Unites States’ best half-miler for nearly a decade. Symmonds won the silver medal in the 800 meters at the 2013 World Athletics Championships.
Plaque location: Island Park, Springfield.
Learn more about the Heritage Trail and the 22 athletes here.