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The USATF board of directors awarded the event to Mt. SAC over bids from Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, host site of the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Trials, and Sacramento State in Sacramento, California, which hosted the 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships last weekend as well as the 2014 USATF Championships and the 2004 Olympic Trials.
Mt. SAC's Hilmer Lodge Stadium is currently undergoing a $62 million upgrade, slated for completion in 2019, that will expand the seating capacity to more than 21,000. The venue last hosted the Olympic Trials in 1984 ahead of the Los Angeles Olympic Games. Since 1959, the venue has also hosted the annual Mt. SAC Relays every April, which traditionally attracts top tier Olympic talent for their season debuts. Twenty world records have been set at the stadium.
"The board was presented with three excellent options for the 2020 Olympic Trials," board chair Steve Miller said via a press release issued by USATF. "The board, and especially our active athletes, were clear in their desire to take the Olympic Trials back to Los Angeles. Mt. SAC has long been one of the top meets in the country, from an athlete performance perspective as well as from an organizational perspective. With the stadium upgrades currently planned, we are confident Mt. SAC will provide an extraordinary experience for athletes, fans, officials and volunteers."
With Mt. SAC as the venue, we could be seeing a preview of the 2024 Olympic Games. Los Angeles is currently in the bid process vs. Paris, France.
"LA 2024 is thrilled to welcome the U.S. Olympic Trials - Track & Field back to Southern California," LA 2024 CEO Gene Sykes said in the USATF press release. "Mt. San Antonio College's renovated Hilmer Lodge Stadium will be one of the world's finest track and field venues and the perfect location to host the nation's top track and field event in 2020. We also hope the Trials will be a preview of more Olympic-quality track and field competition returning in Los Angeles in 2024."
Eugene fans should not be too distressed at losing the event in 2020, as the IAAF World Championships will be held on U.S. soil for the first time at Hayward Field the following year in 2021.
TrackTown USA CEO Michael Reilly issued a release following the Mt. SAC 2020 announcement to congratulate the city of Los Angeles and address the event in 2021.
"We are grateful for the thousands of volunteers, public and private sector leaders, and businesses throughout Oregon that helped us to build the Olympic Team Trials into an amazing festival for track and field in 2008, 2012 and 2016. Our community put forth a bold vision for 2020, and we look forward to future opportunities to partner with USA Track & Field in showcasing the sport we love.
"In just four years, the eyes of the world will be focused on a world-class Hayward Field on the beautiful University of Oregon campus as this country hosts the IAAF World Championships Oregon21. TrackTown USA is excited to continue working with USA Track & Field, the state of Oregon and all of our partners on creating a global platform for the sport in 2021 that will leave a lasting legacy for decades to come," the release reads.