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2021 World Championships - USATF & TrackTown USA Teleconference Transcript


Opening Statements

Max Siegel: On behalf of USATF, I can’t tell you how thrilled we are and honored that the IAAF Council made this award to United States. The collaboration we have between USATF, TrackTown USA, the USOC, and NBC, what we have is what we believe is an unprecedented opportunity to use the platform of the World Outdoor Championships to take the sport to another level of popularity, visibility, and frankly, corporate engagement. We have enjoyed a long-standing, dynamic, innovative and seamless partnership with TrackTown USA, and the collaboration has been fantastic with all of the events we have hosted and will host in the future. The IAAF has been a great partner of ours since we all first expressed an interest in hosting international events. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the leadership of our president Stephanie Hightower, our board chair Steve Miller and the hard work of Bob Hersh in helping us with this particular bid and others.


Vin Lananna: This has all been a long-term vision for the sport of track & field in the United States. It started back when we hosted the Olympic Trials in 2008 and 2012, World Juniors in 2014 and in our quest to host the NCAAs for nine straight years. This has all reflected on a community and a state that loves track & field. IAAF President Lamine Diack has seen the people here who practice the religion of track & field. With that in mind, and with the collaboration with USA Track & Field, the leadership of the folks at USA Track & Field, our governor Kate Brown, who was part of the delegation in Monaco, and the two mayors of the cities of Eugene and Springfield that helped us get across the finish line. I really appreciate the support and buy-in of the strategic plan by President Diack and the IAAF Council.

Stephanie Hightower: On behalf of USATF and TrackTown USA, we have worked together on this project to bring this to fruition. This has truly been a group effort, there was not a whole entity that carried this by itself. This was truly a group effort on how we can move the sport forward. The conversation with the IAAF began the day we decided to bid and has continued through today. This has been a long stretch. As president of USATF, I would like to thank President Diack and our colleagues at the IAAF Council for entrusting us with this meet.

Steve Miller: We have to recognize the thousands of great athletes who have made the U.S. what it is today in terms of competition worldwide. We’re excited to represent them and represent the United States and couldn’t be happier. As the newly selected chairman of the board, the Board of Directors will do everything they can to help support each of the constituent bases in their efforts to make this not only a great world championships, but something people will remember culturally and competitively.

On plans for expanding the stadium and Nike’s involvement

Vin Lananna: Expansion of the stadium was going to be the latest part of our legacy of hosting world champs. Hayward Field needs to be renovated, and it will be renovated to be able to meet specifications of event seating in 30-32,000 range. Some of it will be temporary seating, but high-end temporary seating. As for Nike’s role in all of this, Nike has been a strong partner for TrackTown USA and for all the events that we do. They are not the shoe and apparel sponsor for the IAAF, that is adidas. So Nike in itself had no involvement in this other than being a strong partner for USATF, TrackTown USA and the USOC.

On the timeline for how this possibility became a potential reality

Vin Lananna: It was as both Max and Stephanie, Jill and Steve have mentioned, this has been a great partnership between USATF, TrackTown, USOC, NBC and the state of Oregon and the University of Oregon foundation. We all joined together in November to present, what we believed, was a phenomenal bid. We came away disappointed. We were happy they found a great spot for it in 2019 in Doha.

Max and I were sitting having dinner that night, and we were pretty upset we didn’t win. Max said we should go forward in 2021. I won’t say exactly what I said after that. We knew we had the desire to go forward with it, so we started to plan what it would look like in 2021. Could we keep everyone excited, partners engaged and all the answers to those questions were yes. So I met with (Max) in February and laid out a strategic plan to do this. And he said, if you guys want to go forward with it, go ahead and try it. We continued to have conversations with the IAAF for 6-7 weeks.

We arrived in China on Monday and met with President Diack, and by that time we were fully engaged. It all fell in place and the Council accepted the strategic plan. They deserve a lot of credit for stepping up and making a bold decision to accept this bid outside of process.

On submitting an additional bid to the IAAF or making a formal presentation

Vin Lananna: We submitted the paperwork, and then President Hightower and I submitted our letter indicating our interest and our reasons to do this but we did not make a presentation. It was just by letter.

On when there was a sense this might be coming or that being awarded the event might go out of process.

Vin Lananna: We didn’t know what it was going to do. Max and I had been talking about it for 5-6 weeks. We knew when we made the presentation (for 2019), we knew it was strong, and we knew everyone liked the bid from 2019. We didn’t know where it would go. It wasn't until I arrived in Beijing and had a meeting with the president and saw how engaged he was and how he really wanted this to happen. But he wanted to respect the democratic process, and he brought us to the council and they voted out of process.

On European Athletics’ reaction to 2021 World Championships in the U.S.

Vin Lananna: I think the IAAF was fully aware of all of the elements that go into these types of decisions. I assume they evaluate it and I think all of us here would be sympathetic to the disappointment for Gothenburg, (Sweden). I think we’ve all been through it and we are sensitive to it and sympathetic to it, but that would be for the IAAF to weigh in on it. Not me.

Max Siegel: We have been pretty deliberate in being engaged with the IAAF as a federation and with our partnership with TrackTown USA for a few years now, and this was a large part of the long-term plan we had to make sure that we are engaged and we were a contributing part of the global family. We expressed our interests and participated at a very high level in everything from World Youth Championships to World Junior Championships and leading up to our bid on the World Outdoor Championships, and all of this has been a part of a sustained long-term plan we had and continue to engage in with the IAAF.

Stephanie Hightower: When London and Doha presented four years ago, and London was awarded the (2017) Championship at the same time, one of the things that the IAAF Council did consider was asking if Doha would be interested in (the next championships in 2019). At that time, Doha did not think they wanted to do it. So I do think there is some precedent here in thinking outside of the box and being innovative, knowing that cities and countries put a lot of work into these bid packages and understanding that there could still be a window of opportunity if you don’t get it on the first try. There might be another opportunity. I want to thank the IAAF in understanding that these are big presentations and there’s a lot of money involved. They’re looking forward and have a forward thinking approach in wanting to make sure we have these championships planned out long term.

In Monaco, what was reception there like during first presentation in February

Vin Lananna: First of all, it was a collaborative idea with all the entities that were involved. I can’t emphasize strongly enough the partnership between USATF, the USOC, NBC, the University Foundation and the state of Oregon, so there were a lot of stakeholders who participated in the idea. That was really what we emphasized, the passion that we have towards the sport of track & field and the president was certainly receptive, but he was also mindful about what processes need to be taken. He’s completing his mandate and should this be a decision he would make and he was not going to make this decision on his own. He supported it, but he fully expected full engagement by members of the council and they supported it. I think he had to think long and hard about it, but clearly he has stated many, many times that he wanted the event to be organized in the United States. So as he said today in the press conference, this is clearly a dream of his.

On the timeline for making renovations

Vin Lananna: We all know that there has been a new (University of Oregon) president that was just appointed here two days ago. I think I’d be speaking out of school if I made a comment without talking with him first. We’ve already been in discussion about this. Everyone knows in the city of Eugene and around the country that there are renovations that need to be made to Hayward Field. Our plan, as it is right now, is looking at what needs to be done, what it would look like and what the design should be. Now that we know the specifications and what we’re aiming to get done. Our goal is that we fully would plan to engage in the NCAAs the next seven years, and we are ready to host USATF Outdoors in 2015 and the Olympic Trials in 2016, as well as the Pre Classic. What we’ll be doing is looking at all of those different events on our calendar and coming up with a sensible way to work on it. Our hope is to begin sometime after the Olympic Trials in 2016.

What does USATF think about this helping the U.S.’s 2024 Olympic bid?

Max Siegel: We are really appreciative of how this bid reflects the international support of major events on U.S. soil. We are mindful of the Boston 2024 bid and we take our responsibility to host an event of this magnitude very seriously. We certainly think it bodes well in the international community to successfully host events like this. We couldn’t be happier with the partner in TrackTown USA who has tons of experience executing high-level events. It’s a great statement on behalf of this country, we’re honored to host an event of this magnitude and certainly believe it will be a positive reflection on our bid for the 2024 Olympics.

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