If you want to visit the place where Steve Prefontaine and other U.S. track stars became legend under the watchful eye of Bill Bowerman at the University of Oregon’s famed Hayward Field you’d better hurry because tickets for the 2012 Track and Field Olympic Trails for the London Olympics this June is “going fast,” reports Eugene’s Register Guard newspaper this week. The paper reported how tickets for the U.S. Olympic Team Trails are “more than half gone.” Trails spokeswoman Marilyn Milne told the Eugene paper that “there have been 14,000 sold, spread out over all eight days (of the Trials), and there are about 12,000 left,” as of last week. Also, Milne said all of the 11,264 passes for the full run of the Trails, which will be held between June 22 – July 1 at Hayward Field, “are long gone.” Also, according to the official website for the event at http://tracktown12.gotracktownusa.com/, ticket prices range from $28.50 to $80, with an additional delivery fee, are still available at www.TrackTown12.com.
Hayward returns as host for Olympic trails
Visitors to “Track Town USA” here in Eugene this June will be greeted by “Occupy Eugene” protesters who already report how the Olympic trails protests’ will be part of the massive summertime Occupy Movement’s national outcry that will culminate “when all hell breaks loose in Tampa,” explains local protestor Blake who adds “I’d rather be in Eugene than over in Tampa when they crown ol’ Mitt as the GOP king." The 2012 Republican National Convention takes place in Tampa Bay, Florida from Aug. 27-30; with more than 50,000 faithful members of the GOP hoping to jump start Mitt Romney’s run for the White House.
In turn, there will be others running at Hayward Field come June 22 – July 1 when it hosts the 2012 Track and Field Olympic Trials for the London Olympics.
Hayward Field also hosted the 2009 and 20011 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships that promoted Nike to release the “Air Zoom Hayward” running shoe, in honor of Hayward Field.
At the same time, Blake and other “Occupy Eugene” protesters joke how one needs to have “the wallet of Mitt and other rich Republicans to afford the Zoom Hayward running shoe.”
Still, part of the allure of “Track Town USA” is the “local color,” that includes meeting with -the local tye-dyed retro-Hippie population – that embraces local University of Oregon track legend Steve Prefontaine as one of their own – and, of course, the growing numbers who represent “Occupy Eugene” with protest neighbors in nearby “Occupy Portland.”
How the Olympic Trails work
America’s best track and field stars are coming to Hayward Field for the Olympic Trials because they are considered to be the best the U.S. has to offer in the forthcoming Olympics in London, states an overview for the United States Olympic Trails that also explains how “the meet in Eugene will be conducted by the national governing body for the sport, that’s currently the “USA Track and Field organization (USATF).
Also, USATF stated that entry to the United States Olympic Trials “is open to any U.S. Citizen who has achieved the ‘A’ standard, and based on superior performance, sufficient "B" standard athletes to fill out the field.”
Since 1972, the Trials have been determined to have a “minimum of 24 entries in any event,” with the popular sprint events 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters and 110 meter hurdles having a “minimum of 32 entries” to qualify – or win - to attend this Summer’s Olympic Games in London.
And, unlike many other countries, who have a selection committee, USATF’s fact sheet notes how “the selection to the United States Olympic Team is exclusively by results on the track. It's ‘do or die’ in the prescribed final that takes place at Hayward Field this June.
Olympic track trials set for Eugene
While there as yet will not be an official “Occupy Track Trails,” there is a lot of security prep now going on for the Trails that are just under six weeks away before tens of thousands of track fans come to Eugene to watch America’s best track stars compete at Hayward Field that played itself in a fictional staging of the Olympic trials for the 1982 film, “Personal Best,” and in the 1998 biography of Steve Prefontaine, “Without Limits.”
Also, locals here in Eugene remind visiting track fans that Hayward Field served as a “set” for the ROTC drill scene of the 1978 film, “National Lampoon’s Animal House” when fictional college student John Belushi proclaimed “food fight” while all hell also broke out in Eugene during the filming of the famed Animal House.
At the same time, track fans will tell you that there’s no better place in the nation to watch track and field than the historic Hayward Field stadium on the University of Oregon campus.
“It’s green, slick and impressive. And, with a seating capacity of only about 16,000 it’s sort of intimate. I saw ‘Pre’ race at Hayward, and it’s akin to watching Ali at Madison Square Garden. It’s one of the best, if not the best, track stadiums in the world,” explains Eugene local Kyle Foster who said he got tickets “for all eight days of the Trials on day one when they went on sale.”
In turn, Foster’s advice for visitors to Track Town USA is “get your tickets now before they’re sold out, and you have to pay the scalpers big bucks to get into Hayward.”
Image source of famed track stars Lopez Lomong and Andy McClary running for glory at the 2008 Olympic Trails that also took place at Hayward Field in Eugene. Photo courtesy Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Olympic_Trials_(track_and_field)