TrackTown USA president Vin Lananna (© Getty Images)
Vin Lananna, president of local organisers TrackTown USA, told reporters that the IAAF World Junior Championships, Oregon 2014 “exceeded expectations” after the final medal ceremonies were completed at Hayward Field.
“When we made the presentation to the IAAF, we told them we would have an excited and enthusiastic crowd and a community which would embrace the athletes and provide them with the best experience possible,” he said. “Based on all the measures we have so far, this has been a grand success.”
The total attendance over six days of competition was 51,532.
“These athletes saw what could happen on a bigger stage when they go to a senior World Championships and there are 40,000 people in the stadium,” he added. “Oregonians, in particular our Hayward faithful here in Eugene, did a great job.
“The in-stadium experience was certainly fantastic,” he added, “but when you went out of the stadium and walked around campus, you saw the athletes out, interacting, playing basketball and volleyball. We thought the village atmosphere was a big plus.
“Every national anthem, every athlete on the podium, everyone who walked in here [to the mixed zone] with a smile on their face, that’s what I’m focusing on now. Maybe on Monday we’ll start looking on things we could do better.”
Lananna pointed in particular at the 1062 volunteers who worked long hours to stage the championships.
“This is a tough meet to run,” he said. “They did a great job and I’m proud of them. It’s a love for the sport. For many years this community has done its share to host great events,” he added, referring to the Prefontaine Classic and the many collegiate and high school meets run at Hayward Field.
Lananna also looked forward to the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships, where the TrackTown team will again play organisers. The meeting will be hosted in Portland, Oregon, 177km north of Eugene.
“What I saw this week took away any concerns I might have had about the popularity of that meet,” said Lananna. “I think Oregonians will embrace that. It’s not just going to be a meet; it’s going to be a celebration of the sport, and Oregon is going to be front and centre in that celebration.”
Parker Morse for the IAAF