During the past century, the city of Eugene became known as Track Town, USA. Prominent University of Oregon track and field leaders helped garner this reputation for Eugene through their efforts to bring important, high-caliber sports events to the modest Willamette Valley town. Although Oregon has face many challenges in the last 25 years from diminishing funds to increasing competition, today the best-of-the-best still come to Hayward Field for world-class meets including the annual Prefontaine Classic and the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Defining Events and Milestones
The only site to host three consecutive U.S. Olympic Trials (1972, 1976, 1980), as well as the 2008 and 2012 Trials, Eugene maintains its reputation as the center of track and field. These events and Oregon’s student-athlete Olympians contribute to the strong relationship between the UO and the Olympic Games.
The University of Oregon’s connection to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championships spans nearly a century, playing a defining role in the heritage and future of Track Town, USA.
More than 30 years after his tragic death, Steve Prefontaine remains a track and field icon. The annual Prefontaine Classic, held in his honor at Hayward Field, helps to preserve his memory. The meet, an event unparalleled in the United States, brings out the best of the best.