Eugene, Oregon, has been awarded the 2021 IAAF World Championships, the first time the track-and-field event will be held in the United States. The International Association of Athletics Federations gave Eugene the event, bypassing the usual bidding process in response to what the federation called “a unique strategic opportunity.”
Eugene and USA Track & Field had launched a previous campaign to host the 2019 championships, finishing two votes behind Doha, Qatar, in November. But the strength of that campaign combined with a commitment of funding from the governor of Oregon, support of the U.S. Olympic Committee and a commitment from NBC to produce and broadcast the event in cooperation with Universal Sports were enough to award the 2021 event without a bid, according to the IAAF. The event will be staged at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus.
“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. “Although this decision departs from the usual procedure, I am delighted that my council colleagues understood the enormous opportunity presented to us to access a key market and have taken a decision in the interest of the global development of our sport.”
Awarding the championships without a bid does have some precedence. The 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan, were also awarded without a bidding process.
“We are deeply honored to be given the opportunity to host the world’s greatest track-and-field athletes on U.S. soil,” USATF CEO Max Siegel said. “We thank President Diack and the IAAF Council for entrusting this meet to the United States. Team USA has established itself as the most successful track-and-field team in the world. We now have the opportunity and duty to rise to the same level as hosts of these championships.”
“We are humbled by the bold leadership shown by the IAAF Council,” TrackTown USA President Vin Lananna said. “We are thrilled to be able to welcome the world in 2021. We want to thank the IAAF for their decision, and we also want to thank the people of Oregon for their unwavering support. In hosting this meet at historic Hayward Field, on the beautiful University of Oregon campus, we believe we can ignite a spark that will leave a lasting legacy for track and field for generations to come.”
The 2021 World Championships will be the third IAAF championship event to be held in Oregon in the span of seven years. The IAAF World Junior Championships Oregon 14 made its U.S. debut in Eugene last summer and the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016 will be held at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland on March 18–20, 2016. Hayward Field has also hosted a wide range of other top-tier track-and-field events, including the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. It will also host the trials in 2016.
The IAAF World Championships—a biennial nine-day competition featuring the world’s top track-and-field athletes—will be the largest sporting event in the world in 2021, with nearly 2,000 participants representing as many as 213 countries from around the world.