Archive for the 2012 Olympic Trials Category

‘Preparing for the Best’ with Ryan Whiting

(March 8, 2012 - Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images Europe)

In an event that the USA has dominated for several years now, one would think it would be difficult for a young newcomer to crack into the rankings.  Ryan Whiting proved it could be done.  Against the likes of fellow Americans Adam Nelson, Reese Hoffa, and Christian Cantwell, Whiting has risen the bar amidst a world-class field. Competing for Arizona State, he graduated with two NCAA Indoor Shot Put titles and one NCAA Outdoor victory.  He was an All-American eight times in the shot-put and discus and set a collegiate indoor shot put record (21.73 meters / 71 feet, 3 ½ inches).  Since graduating from college with a degree in engineering, Whiting has gotten married and moved back to Pennsylvania, where he grew up.  He resides near Penn State University in order to attend grad school and continue to train.  His most recent accomplishment has been winning the IAAF World Indoor title with a best mark of 22.00 meters (72-2 ½).  He is no stranger to the rings of Hayward Field and, like so many other athletes, is looking forward to coming back to TrackTown USA for the Olympic Trials this summer.


What is your best track memory from past meets at Hayward Field and Eugene or your highest finish here?

I would say my fondest memory of Hayward Field was making my first outdoor World Championship Team last year.  My highest finish in Eugene was at the 2010 NCAA Championships, where I topped off my collegiate career by winning my first discus title and my fifth shot put title — coming 3 centimeters from the collegiate record.

What most impressed you about the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2008?

It is always amazing to me how welcoming the people of Eugene are for track meets.  At the Trials the locals were wonderful and managed to fill the stadium every day!

Are there any changes from previous meets at Hayward that you hope to see for the Trials?

The only thing I want to change from my last Trials experience at Hayward is to be one of the three who leave after the competition with a ticket to the Olympics.

As an athlete, what do you foresee to be the biggest challenge in your experience in Eugene this summer?

In U.S. shot putting, there is no sure thing. We easily have the most competitive field of any event to be contested this summer.  It will be a challenge, but right now my ONLY goal is to make the 2012 Olympic team.

Aside from your competition, what are you looking forward to most about the Trials this summer?

Track Town Pizza.

Being that the Shot Put gets a lot of attention at meets all over the world, how does competing at Hayward compare to other places in terms of fan support/enthusiasm?

Shot put is definitely one of the up and coming events in track and field.  I have always loved competing at Hayward, it is easily one of the most supportive crowds I have encountered!

Are you planning on getting here early or staying after your event to watch the meet and hang out at the festival?

I am planning on getting to Eugene about 4-5 days before the meet to train and get used to the small time change.  Unfortunately right when I am done competing I will be leaving and (hopefully) going home to begin my preparation for London.

Do you have anything specific you like to do when you come to Eugene for meets (favorite restaurants/bars, etc.)

I love Track Town Pizza. That all-you-can-eat pizza for lunch is a tough deal to beat for a shot putter.  I also used to always go to Villard St. Pub, but last time I was there it was gone.

Have you heard anything about the London Pub, the SuperBlock exhibits/vendors, the live performances, etc. being planned for the meet?

As of yet I have not heard of any of that.  It is my fault as I am pretty single-minded in my goal of making the team at this point.



March 8, 2012 - Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images Europe

‘Preparing for the Best’ with Hyleas Fountain

Hyleas FountainHeptathlete Hyleas Fountain’s exciting string of performances was arguably one of the greatest shows at the 2008 Olympic Trials. On her way to a lifetime-best score of 6,667 points, Fountain soared through the first four events with three personal bests, three records, and three individual wins!  After setting the stage and attracting the full attention of the fans, she breezed through the second day to an easy win.  With Jackie Joyner-Kersee being the only other American to earn an Olympic medal in the event, a few months later Fountain again proved she was something special by winning silver at the Olympic Games in Beijing.  Over her career, she has been the USA National Champion three times, the USA Indoor Champion once, and the NCAA Champion four times (indoor and outdoor long jump, pentathlon, and heptathlon).  This year she returns to Eugene ready for another summer of spectacular performances and excited for the support and energy of TrackTown USA!

What is your best track memory from past meets at Hayward Field and Eugene?

Winning my first Olympic Trials and making my first Olympic Team.

What most impressed you about the Trials in 2008?

The thing that impressed me the most was the amount of people that attended the meet. I think this was because of the way they advertised the meet. It’s also good to see people who love our Sport the way TrackTown people do.

Are there any changes from previous meets at Hayward that you hope to see for the Trials?

Not really. I thought it was very organized and run well.

Aside from your competition, what are you looking forward to most about the Trials this summer?

I’m really looking forward to the energy of the crowd. I really love the energy they bring to the track and I love to feed off that.

Are you planning on getting here early or staying after your event?

I will arrive a few days before my event.

‘Behind the Scenes Spotlight’ with Sasha Spencer Atwood

Our last few blogs have been centered around one of the most important aspects of TrackTown12 and that is the Athlete Experience. Go back and read The Athlete Experience hits the Road or Preparing for the Best’ Spotlight with Bridget Franek.  The majority of our planning and efforts have been going to this, with the hopes that each athlete will have an amazing experience. It comes down to a collaborative effort between the Local Organizing Committee, USATF and the USOC; but today’s spotlight is on one former athlete who is making sure the current athletes will be taken care of at TrackTown12: Sasha Spencer Atwood.

Sasha joined TrackTown USA in October and currently serves as the Project Manager of Marketing & Athlete Services.  She returned to Oregon, where she grew up and attended North Salem High, after getting married in May of 2011.  Prior to move back to the Northwest, Sasha worked in show business, on the sets of hit movies like The Blind Side and Joyful Noise.  Most importantly for the athletes, she spent much of her life in their same shoes. Sasha competed at Georgetown from 1997-2001 and followed that up with an eight-year professional career in the 800 meters, while running for Nike. On February 27th, Sasha and her husband, Luke, welcomed their daughter, Eden, into the world. We caught up with her just a week after Eden’s birth.

How has your time as an athlete influenced your role with athlete services?

Sasha: There are so many details that go into hosting an event like the Trials.  At times the logistics of it all can get overwhelming, but when I find myself getting caught up in them I try to step back into my memories of competing at the previous three Olympic Trials.  I picture myself and fellow athletes walking into the scenario and key in on the points that were most important to us.  I try to use this experience to inform the decisions I make, as well as to give first-hand input on plans being made by other committees.

Other than taking care of little Eden, what is the most important task you are working on?

Sasha: One thing I am finding to be true is that very few of the tasks we are working on are unimportant.  Some things may take longer or be more complicated to complete, but because athletes are all so different, you never know what can make or break their experience.  We are working really hard to attend to the details so that the athlete experience is seamless and stress-free, even in the little things.  The biggest piece on my plate right now at TrackTown12 is finalizing the athlete transportation plans.  Getting where they need to go when they need to be there is a huge part of an athlete being able to feel relaxed and prepared to do their best.

At home I am working on figuring how to sleep in only a semi-reclined position with a newborn on my chest. I just can’t bear to put her in the bassinet!

What is the experience you would like the athletes to have when they arrive in TrackTown USA for the Olympic Trials?

Sasha:  I want athletes to be able to take for granted that everything is going to run smoothly.  As an LOC, I want us to have anticipated the needs and concerns of the athletes and have plans in place to address them before the first competitor touches down.  I want them to feel welcome and know how excited we are to have them here in Eugene again.  They don’t call this Track Town USA for nothing!  I hope that all of our enthusiasm translates into the preparations we make for them and the energy they feel coming from the crowd.


Monday Matters | The Athlete Experience hits the Road

As mentioned in last Thursday’s Blog, “Getting Closer to TrackTown12 – 120 days to go“, the athlete experience is a very important aspect to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials – Track and Field.  It is when our country’s national team is selected to compete against the world at the Olympics, and even if there weren’t any fans or a festival, the athletes would still be vying for a spot on Team USA.  That is why the TrackTown12 LOC, USATF and the USOC treat the athlete experience with great detail.  From the moment the athlete enters the meet until they are departing from Eugene, we want to make sure they have as few worries as possible (outside of making it to London).

In order to ease their Trials’ preparation process, reps from TrackTown12 traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the 2012 USA Indoor Championships this past weekend to answer questions and take photos, which will be used for credentials.

Many athletes came with questions regarding tickets, the schedule, housing and Hammer Time. They were also pleasantly surprised to get their photos out of the way, though some elected to return later, after they’d cleaned up and done their hair. In all, close to 300 athletes, coaches and agents got their credential photos out of the way and will not have to worry about that come their arrival into TrackTown USA.

There also happened to be some awesome performances on the track during the two days of competition inside the Albuquerque Convention Center.  Saturday’s highlights included a third straight indoor title by Oregon Track Club Elite’s Jesse Williams.  Although it took a couple third-attempt clearances, Williams was able to in solidify his ticket to the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey with a mark of 2.29 meters (7-5). Watch his 2.29m jump here.

OTC Elite’s Ashton Eaton also competed Saturday in the qualifying rounds of the 60-meter hurdles and on Sunday in the long jump. Though he qualified to move on in the hurdles after the first round, Eaton selected to only long jump on Sunday, which proved to be a good choice. On his third jump, Eaton soared to a lifetime best and winning mark of 8.06 meters (26-5 1/2), beating out Will Claye (8.02m, 26-3 3/4).


Watch more videos on Flotrack


Click to watch other highlights.

Bernard Lagat was able to use his kick to win the men’s 3000m – 7:4.54.

Sanya Richards-Ross broke a meet record in the women’s 400m – 50.71.

Leo Manzano kicked past Matthew Centrowitz and Galen Rupp to claim the men’s 1500m – 3:48.05.

Jennifer Simpson won the women’s 1500m after holding off Brenda Martinez. – 4:15.04.

Chaunte Lowe broke the American Indoor record in the women’s high jump. – 2.02m.

Attention Athletes: Come to USA Indoor Championships with your Olympic Trials’ Questions

As we are getting closer and closer to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials – Track and Field, we know you, the athletes (and your agents) have many questions. That is why we will be on hand at the USA Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico next weekend from Friday through Sunday. We want to answer any questions and concerns you may have regarding TrackTown12.

We will be located near the packet pick-up in the Albuquerque East Convention Center – Upper Level (San Miguel Room).

We will have information about many the details that fit into the following areas:

- Before Coming to Eugene
- Getting Settled in Eugene
- Preparing to Compete
- Competition Day

We will also have a camera on hand to take your photos for credentials (so you don’t have to worry about sending them in at a later date). We can also answer your questions regarding the Athlete Family Ticket Plan, Credentials and Hammer Time.

We look forward to talking with you and Good Luck at Indoors!

TrackTown Thursday | The Old Pad, TrackTown Athletes and other Tidbits

On Tuesday (January 31st, 2012), we kicked off our first of five “TrackTown Tuesday” events for the public at the Old Pad in South Eugene.  Excited fans packed the former establishment where legend Steve Prefontaine had worked, leaving some eager ones standing and some even sitting on the bar floor.

The night started with Associate Athletic Director of Track and Field and Co-Chair of TrackTown12, Vin Lananna, addressing the crowed and included talks from Oregon junior sensation Jordan Hasay, Oregon senior Luke Puskedra, and Oregon Track Club Elite athletes Cyrus Hostetler and Sam Chelanga. Each athlete talked about their hopes for the upcoming year and were very thankful for the Hayward faithful, who fill the stands every track and field meet.

Mike Higgins of SportsOne Inc., in Portland, presented some information about how TrackTown12 will be “Bigger, Better and Funner.”  To help with the “Funner”,  a representative of Deschutes Brewery discussed a beer garden they are  calling the “Base Camp for Beer Fanatics” in the festival area.

The night was capped off with the winner of the KDUK & KFLY TrackTown12 Power Anthem Contest, Little Rascalz, performing their song “Run this Town”.  Although they were performing for a slightly older crowed than their used to, the young gentleman were able to put on quite the show.

In case you missed this one, join us Tuesday March 6th for the second “TrackTown Tuesday” at the Hilton Garden Inn in Springfield.  If you want to hear what the Lananna and the athletes had to say, please watch the video below.


Looking forward to the weekend, Oregon Track Club Elite High Jumper Jesse Williams, fresh off his victory at the US Open in New York, jumped across the Atlantic for a couple meets in Europe.  On Saturday, Williams will be jumping in Arnstadt, Germany at the 36th annual Hochsprung mit Musik (High Jump with Music). This unique event is an indoor high jump only event and allows each athlete (Men & Women) to have a song of their choice play while they jump.  Check back next week to for the results.

As we are underway with the 2012 track and field season, don’t forget to purchase your All-Session tickets to the U.S. Olympic Trials – Track and Field.

TrackTown12 | Best : Meet : Ever

TrackTown Thursday | Planning & Collaborating to create the Best:Meet:Ever

It was a busy day on Tuesday, January 17th in TrackTown USA, as approximately 80 members of the Local Organizing Committee came together at the The Club in Autzen Stadium for a full day of planning and collaborating for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track and Field.

The focus of this specific Off-Site planning event (more are scheduled in the upcoming months) was focused around the event footprint, or the “Super Block” that encompasses Hayward Field and the adjacent fan experience.  Several of the 18 committees presented information about how they will fit into the Super Block in order to create the best possible experience for all constituents: athletes, media, workforce and spectators. There was also an in-depth presentation given on the TrackTown12 Volunteer Experience.

USA Track and Field and the United States Olympic Committee each had representation on Tuesday as well, and provided the LOC with pivotal information.

During the lunch hour, a press conference was held featuring Co-Chair Vin Lananna and USOC’s Director of Business Development, Chester Wheeler. They discussed the Trials being held in Eugene and elements fans can expect to see both inside and outside the stadium.  If you’ve got 20 minutes, you can watch the full conference in the video below.

For more coverage on this action packed day, check out the different links for local media:

Register Guard - U.S. Olympic Committee executive: Eugene hard to top for the track and field Trials

KMTR-TV - U.S. Olympic Committee visits Eugene for TrackTown12 planning

KVAL-TV - TrackTown12: Road to London goes through Eugene

KEZI-TV - 2012 U.S. Track and Field Trials Will Have London Theme

KLCC - Planning for Eugene Track and Field Trials Moves into High Gear

Still need Tickets? All-Session tickets are still available, but hurry they are going fast! Click here to get yours!

Want to Volunteer during TrackTown12? Go sign up here.

TrackTown Thursday | Let the 2012 Events Begin!

We only needed two weeks of 2012 to begin what will be a great year for Track and Field. Most notably is the U.S. Olympic Trials – Marathon to be held in Houston this Saturday.  The men will take off from the line at 8:00 a.m. local race time and the women will follow shortly at 8:15. You can watch Oregon Track Club Elite athletes (based in Portland) like Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher race on NBC from 12:00 p.m. PST (3:00 EST) – 2:00 PST (5:00 EST).

Here are some Marathon Trials links:

The Official U.S Olympic Team Trials – Marathon Houston – Houston 2012

Follow Houston 2012 on Twitter @HoustonMarathon

RunnerSpace Coverage of the 2012 Marathon Trials – Watch video interviews and more.

FloTrack Coverage of the 2012 Marathon Trials - Mile to Mile Updates for Men | Women

The Indoor season is also underway and the University of Oregon is heading out of TrackTown USA to compete in a couple different areas.  Part of the team is headed out to Nampa, Idaho for Blue and Orange Opener at the Idaho Center hosted by Boise St.  Others will be in Seattle for the University of Washington Indoor Preview. Weekly Release 1/11/12

FloTrack’s coverage of the 2012 UW Indoor Preview

RunnerSpace’s coverage of the 2012 UW Indoor Preview

Jesse Williams & Jordan Kent featured in the TrackTown ThrowDown

On Sunday, January 8th, TrackTown USA made an appearance indoors, but not for a Track and Field meet. We were at Matthew Knight Arena for the University of Oregon Men’s Basketball game versus the Cal Bears for a special event featuring some local track and field heroes. What started as an event to showcase World Champion High Jumper, Jesse Williams’ jumping ability, turned into a dunk contest featuring Williams and the local three-sport hero, Jordan Kent.

The two explosive athletes got the court to themselves during halftime of the game and showed that basketball players aren’t the only ones who can play above the rim. They each entertained the crowd with two dunks and some other crowd pleasing activities, but it was Kent who ended up placing the medal around Williams neck.

Here is video of the high flying TrackTown ThrowDown!

Click Here to watch more videos.

Click Here to get your tickets to TrackTown12 U.S. Olympic Trials -Track & Field.

TrackTown Thursday | 12 Days of TrackTown

On the 12th Day of TrackTown, My True Love Gave to Me:

12 Olympic Medals – (Well actually 13) By 10 former Oregon Track and Field Athletes. Watch the video of Joaquim Cruz’s gold medal 800-meter race in the 1984 Olympics.

11 NCAA Championships – Hosted at Hayward Field (’62, ’64, ’72, ’78, ’84, ’88, ’91, ’96, 2001, 2010 & scheduled to host in 2013).

10 Dec Events – 2012 will be the 100th year of the modern decathlon. The two-day contest will also kick-off the Olympic Trials.

9 Days of Running…………and Jumping……….and Throwing at TrackTown12. Starting with Hammer time on June 21st and ending July 1 with the Men’s 200m Final.

8 Lanes on the Track.

7 -9 and 1/4 – Oregon Track Club Elite Athlete Jesse Williams’ Personal Best and Hayward Field Record. Set at the 2011 USA Championships in TrackTown.

6 Outdoor Titles -  The UO Men have five and the UO Women have one.  Also, the men have one indoor and six cross country titles,  while the women have two of each.

5 OLYMPIC RINGS – And the number of Olympic Trials hosted in TrackTown (1972, 1976, 1980, 2008, 2012).





Sub 4 Minute Miles – The Pre Classic has seen more Sub 4 minute Miles than any other American invitational track meet. Click Here to see the full list.

3 Coach Bills (Hayward, Bowerman, Dellinger).


2 Bowerman Winners (Galen Rupp ’09 & Ashton Eaton ’10).

And a Historic Hayward Field.


Happy Holidays from TrackTown USA. See you in 2012!