IAAF foregoes bidding to award world champs to Eugene

Hayward Field
Hayward Field
Photo: Michael Doyle

For the first time in history, the world championships in athletics will be hosted in the United States at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

In the afternoon session of the International Association of Federations council meeting in Beijing, they announced that Eugene had been selected to host the 2021 world championships, foregoing the usual bidding process used to select a host city, bringing the event to the United States for the first time.

The city submitted a bid to host the 2019 world championships but was beaten out by Doha, Qatar in a 15-12 vote in November of 2014.

The bid team made a second presentation to the IAAF that they were prepared to host the championships, promoting the organization to pass on accepting other bids.

“In granting the championships to Eugene the IAAF Council have made a clear choice on a strategic decision that enables us to take advantage of a unique opportunity that may never arise again, whereby public authorities, the private sector, the national Olympic Committee, NBC and a particularly enthusiastic public are joining forces,” said IAAF President Lamine Diack.


The championships will be held at Hayward Field, the iconic track and field venue at the University of the Oregon, one of the university track and field powerhouses in the United States. The city is known as TrackTown USA and regularly hosts national championships. Hayward will need a major renovation from its 10,500 seats to the nearly-30,000 expected of the venue for the championships.

“I thank President Diack, the Council and USATF President Stephanie Hightower and CEO Max Siegel in supporting the bid,” said Vin Lananna, who led the bid. “We promise to deliver an outstanding championships for the sport of track and field in America and around the world.”

Lananna has served many roles in the Eugene track and field community over the years and has been pivotal in bringing US championships and Olympic Trials to there.

The council made note that there is precedent for passing on the bidding process, as the 2007 edition was awarded to Osaka, Japan, without one, though that was due to the city being the only one which had not withdrawn interest at the bid deadline.

The event will be one of three IAAF events in Eugene in a span of seven years. The city field hosted the 2014 world junior championships and will host the 2016 world indoor championships.