LA Olympic track trials unlikely in 2028

Eugene — LA 28 chairman Casey Wasserman said Sunday it is unlikely that Los Angeles will host the 2028 Olympic Trials in track and field, a move that creates the likelihood of the Trials returning to Eugene for an unprecedented sixth consecutive time.

USA Track & Field CEO Max Siegel said his organization has already had discussions with Tracktown USA officials about a 2028 Trials at Hayward Field, the host site of every track and field Trials since 2008.

Ever since Los Angeles was awarded the 2028 Olympic Games, the consensus–and hope–among top American athletes and coaches was that the 2028 Trials would be held at the Coliseum, the site of the Olympic track competition.

But Wasserman and Siegel all but slammed the door on a Los Angeles Trials, Wasserman citing cost and logistical issues.

“It adds a level of complexity to our planning that I’m not sure is best for the athletes,” Wasserman said during a joint press conference with Siegel at Hayward Field.

The Olympic track and field competition will be held on a temporary track at the Coliseum that will cover several lower rows around the stadium. In addition to becoming the first stadium to hold an Olympic track competition, the Coliseum will also hold the closing ceremonies for the 2028 Games.

“The temporary track is actually the most expensive and probably complicated thing we actually have to built,” Wasserman said.

“We have to put a world class track facility back in and that is a truly complicated thing. It’s also where closing ceremonies are going to be. so the operational stress probably would take away from the athletes.

“That’s not my decision to make, but that would be my concern.”

While Siegel insisted it was not a “forgone conclusion” that the Trials would return to Hayward Field in 2028 his comments all pointed to that probability.

“It’s difficult to find a partner that is as collaborative, knowledgeable and the fan base that supports a sport as Eugene,” Siegel said.

“We’ll bid it out like we usually do, we’re trying to find a host that is as good as collaborative as we have here in Eugene.”

Such a search isn’t likely to be successful.

An Orange County Register report last week revealed that Eugene was awarded the 2024 Trials by USATF after no other city bid for the event.

Meet directors and local tourism officials said they cannot compete with TrackTown USA, a tax-exempt, non-profit that has reported more than $140 million in revenue since it was founded in 2013 to become along with one of its chief benefactors, Nike, perhaps the most powerful entity in American track and field.

“Eugene is pretty tough to compete with these days,” said Greg Edwards, president and CEO of the Des Moines Area Sports Commission. “The Olympic Trials is a huge undertaking, both cost-wise and in terms of sponsorship. And Eugene is so powerful, we feel like we can’t compete with them. So (bidding) becomes a, ‘Why are we spinning our wheels kind of thing?’”

The Olympic Trials, said Brian Yokoyama, Mt. San Antonio College’s director of athletic events, “are never going to be in a major market again.”

Tracktown USA CEO Michael Reilly when asked about the 2028 Trials by the Register earlier this month said “We haven’t started thinking about the next Trials yet.”

Wasserman and Siegel’s comments are likely to be greeted with disappointment by many top U.S. athlete and coaches, a growing number of whom have complained about the financial and logistical burden placed on them and their families and support team by having to travel to Eugene for so many major championships.

Of this decade’s eight major U.S. championships – the Olympic Trials, the U.S. and NCAA championships – seven have been hosted by Eugene. Tracktown has been home to nine of the last 11 NCAA Championships and is scheduled to host the next three NCAAs as well. Or consider that in the Olympic Trials’ 104-year history, no other city has hosted the event more than three consecutive times and no location has held more than two straight Trials since 1928.

Eugene is also bidding to host the 2025 U.S. and 2028 NCAA championships.

““You’d hate to see track turn into one of those sports where it’s pay to play,” said sprinter Gabby Thomas, a two-Olympic medalist and world champion in the 4×100-meter relay. “You want the best people in the country to have the opportunity to make the team not just because they have the support and the financial background.”

Thomas is one of a growing number of Olympic and Worlds medalists who are advocating that major U.S. championships be held away from Eugene.

“I think we would definitely all love to see that,” said Thomas, an Olympic bronze and Worlds silver medalist at 200 meters. “I definitely think it’s time. You see how easy it is to get to other cities. Eugene is really hard to get to and it’s not feasible for a lot of people to try and make their dream happen.

“But also just for interest (in track). The public wants to see the Olympic Trials. They want to know when it’s happening, where it’s happening and they want to be able to buy tickets if you put it in a city people will be excited to go to.

“For people who just want to go and support (the sport). If I don’t want to go to Eugene, why would anyone want to?”

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *