nike air max command precio Olympic Trials More Than a Track Meet for Eugene and Nike
EUGENE, Ore. Minutes after Ashton Eaton set a world record in the decathlon at the Olympic track and field trials last Saturday, he paid homage to the sellout crowd at Hayward Field, the storied track at the University of Oregon where the 10 day meet is being held.
“The Hayward magic does exist,” Eaton said.
Eugene, a city of 155,000 that also hosted the trials in 2008 and may do so again in 2016, calls itself Track Town USA and has perhaps the most avid track fans in the nation. Thousands pay $50 or more a day, often sitting for hours in the rain; thousands more pack the festival area behind the stands. Residents open their homes to the athletes, their families and the 1,800 volunteers who travel from every state.
Most important, Eugene has Nike, a corporate partner that not only underwrites many of the athletes and the sport more broadly but also was born here nearly half a century ago, when the famed Oregon coach, Bill Bowerman, used his wife’s waffle iron to create the prototype for the company’s first running shoe.
“This is Woodstock, a lovefest, not a convention,” said Greg Erwin, the co chairman of Track Town USA, Eugene’s host committee and a distance runner at Oregon in the 1980s. “It’s about civic pride that we’re Track Town.”
And despite the city’s rich heritage, deep pocketed sponsor and made for television venue, some track watchers argue that the trials could become too closely associated with Eugene and Nike.
“While no one’s complained about inadequacy in Eugene, there’s a risk that it might become too familiar,” said James Dunaway, who has written about every Olympic trials since 1964. “No one wants to get Nike upset because they effectively fund USA Track Field, so they’ve painted themselves into a corner.”
Rotating locations would allow USA Track Field, the sport’s governing body, to rekindle interest in the sport elsewhere.
“We don’t have Nike in our backyard, but we have a really engaged community,” said Sandy Hatfield Clubb, the director of athletics at Drake University, which hosts the Drake Relays, one of the country’s largest outdoor meets. track and field championships next year, have shown interest in hosting the trials in 2016, and appear to be Eugene’s leading rival. Sacramento, which hosted the trials in 2000 and 2004, may bid again. The city has a top competition site at Sacramento State University, excellent and predictable weather, a central location for the athletes, many of whom train in California, and an ample supply of high end hotel rooms, something Eugene lacks.
“They’ll have Eugene as long as Eugene will have them,” said John McCasey, executive director of the Sacramento Sports Commission, referring to officials from USA Track Field. “But it limits the growth of the sport to be confined to such a small part of the country.”
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What is clear, though, is that Nike spends millions of dollars promoting the trials in Eugene. The company, which declined to make an executive available to discuss its sponsorship, is the only gold level sponsor of the trials. The Nike swoosh is everywhere, from the fan festival at Hayward Field to the buses ferrying athletes around town.
The budget for the 10 day event is nearly $10 million, Erwin said. Ticket sales cover more than half of those costs, with the rest coming from private donors and sponsors like Nike, but also BP, Safeway and Asics, a rival shoe company. NBC Sports Network, which is televising the meet, does not pay a rights fee.
Nike is also using the trials as a corporate bonding experience, bringing in bus loads of employees from its main campus near Portland to see where the company began. It is hard to imagine that the company would spend as much money on the trials if they were held in Iowa or California, sports business experts said.
“It’s more than a track and field event; it’s important to their corporate culture,” said Paul Swangard, who teaches the business of sports at Oregon. “They can use the trials for their internal value that could never be replicated elsewhere. Eugene is sacred ground to the company.”
ALMOST A DEAD HEAT History almost repeated itself Friday.
In the semifinals of the women’s 200 meters, Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh finished one thousandth of a second apart, Felix in 22.297 seconds and Tarmoh in 22.298.
Tarmoh and Felix finished in a dead heat for third place in the 100 final last Saturday. The two said they would not decide how they would break their tie until after they had determined if either or both had made the Olympic team in the 200. The 200 final is set for Saturday evening.
On Friday afternoon, Felix and Tarmoh ran in separate heats, so there was no photo finish. When their times were announced, a chuckle rippled across the crowd. This time, though, no tiebreaker was needed: both will move on to the 200 final on Saturday.