INDIANAPOLIS – By a unanimous vote, Portland was awarded the bid for the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships, announced Foundation Executive Director Tom Jackovic and Chairman Bob Greifeld today.
Leading up to the vote, TrackTown USA President and USATF Foundation Board Member Vin Lananna was convinced it would be a close vote. “The drama is mounting,” he shared via email from Monaco as both sides put the final touches on their closing arguments and asked last-minute questions of council members. The bid was submitted to the IAAF by TrackTown USA, Inc., and USA Track & Field.
The IAAF World Indoor Championships will return to the U.S. for the first time since the event was held in Indianapolis in 1987.
According to Lananna, his top notch presentation team was aided immensely by the support of two athletes – Hicham El Guerrouj and Ashton Eaton, both of whom spoke on Portland’s behalf in Monaco.
El Guerrouj, a Moroccan and former Portland resident, retired from competition in 2006. He still holds world records in the 1,500 meters and mile. His daughter was born in Portland and he told the council the city is ready to become a hotbed for international track and field.
“The city’s population is passionate about athletics,” El Guerrouj said. “Having last held the World Indoor Championships in 1987, the U.S. is ready again to host this great competition.”
Eaton, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist, 2013 world champion, and current world record-holder in the decathlon, is a lifelong resident of Oregon who was born in Portland.
“The only problem you will have by staging the championships there will be to get people to leave,” he said. “Everyone will want to stay in Portland.”
The Championships will be endorsed by the USATF Foundation, and the Foundation will actively promote the event through its programming.