Saturday was one of the best times I’ve ever had as a sports fan. The four of us went to the Olympic Trials in Eugene, and we witnessed a major world record and so much more.
A business colleague provided passes to one of the temporary suites, so our seats were terrific (and covered, which was nice during the intermittent downpours). The entire event was perhaps the best-run I’ve ever attended; someone there said that organizers had 4,000 volunteers on hand for the week. You couldn’t go ten steps without someone saying “Welcome!” or asking if you needed help finding something. Nike’s footprint was broad and spectacular: timed tracks for the kids, a massive, temporary store, a time tunnel, etc. etc.
And the performances! I picked Saturday as our day to go because of the variety of events, the fact that there were two marquee women’s finals, and so we could see the second half of the decathlon. We watched men’s javelin and shot put, women’s triple jump, men’s and women’s 800m and 400m prelims, men’s 100m prelims, and the semis and finals of the women’s 100 and 100m hurdles. We saw Olympic champions by the bushelfull, along with other household names like Lolo Jones and Tyson Gay (and a cameo by everyone’s favorite quarkback, Jeff Demps), and lots of Ducks, former Ducks, Oregonians, Portlanders, et al.—each of them competing for a ticket to London. Oh, and we were about 50 paces at one point from Bruce Jenner and Rafer Johnson!
All of it was great, topped off by Ashton Eaton’s world record in the decathlon. Hayward Field was about as loud as Autzen Stadium during the final lap of that 1500m, and the place just blew up when Eaton crossed the finish line. It was a genuine thrill for our family to be able to be a part of it all.
If you’re local and can get to Hayward this week, I highly recommend doing so.
Photo: The O