Letter from Vin Lananna
Members of the TrackTown USA Community:
Today I returned from London and the greatest athletic contest in the world where many outstanding athletes from Oregon brilliantly represented their countries. In the 10k's, Oregon alum Galen Rupp broke new ground for American distance runners by grabbing the silver medal behind training partner Mo Farah and Sally Kipyego showed incredible toughness in her silver medal performance. Galen, Mo and Sally are back again to challenge the best in the world in the finals of the 5,000 meters.
Looking like a seasoned veteran through all of the qualifying rounds, Matthew Centrowitz finished the competition with a gutsy race in the finals of the 1,500 meters. Nick Symmond's strong finish and time of 1:42.95 was an incredible personal performance in the best 800 meter final ever. University of Oregon alumni Becky Holliday, Brianne Theisen, Rachel Yurkovich, Zoe Buckman, Cyrus Hostetler, Andrew Wheating and OTC Elite athletes Geena Gall, Bridget Franek and Jesse Williams were all strong and competitive in their respective events. And Keisha Baker will join the list of tough competitors representing TrackTown USA as she takes to the track today as part of Team USA's Women's 4x400 meter relay.
Ashton Eaton's gold medal performance not only proclaims him as the World's Greatest Athlete, it speaks volumes to the history, legacy, and authenticity of TrackTown USA. Harry Marra, Mark Rowland, Coach Gags, Dan Steele and Alberto Salazar, the U of O staff, the OTC and our entire TrackTown community can stand up and sing the national anthem during tonight's decathlon award ceremonies and take pride in all that this moment represents.
As the 2012 London Olympic Games wind down we will continue to celebrate the performances of the Oregonians that have competed and performed so valiantly, and I am vividly reminded of our collective goal "to revitalize track and field in the State of Oregon" that began in July 2005, and was embraced by our entire community. Our hope was to bring together our collective resources and provide the spark that would ignite the passions for our sport in our country. Early on we started with sparks from the University of Oregon's successes at the Pac-10's and NCAA's. We added kindling by hosting great meets at Historic Hayward Field and by bringing the world's greatest athletes to train in our community. And now Ashton Eaton's gold medal performance has taken our sparks to a flame and turned a flicker into a raging inferno.
As our TrackTown USA flame burns as brightly as ever, "What's next for our community?" We are bringing the 2013 and 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships to our community and the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships to our country and our collegiate and post-collegiate programs will continue to build on the momentum that we have created. We must continue to seize the day and provide the fuel to feed the flame.
Today when Ashton stands atop the podium with the Olympic flame in the background, remember it started with a spark from you. Enjoy this moment, keep the fire burning and congratulations to our great athletes who represent us so capably!
Associate Director, Media Relations
University of Oregon
Track & Field and Cross Country Contact