The World is Coming to Portland
My Driver has once again volunteered to help organize a track
meet. I know y'all are shocked! For three days in March 2016, athletes from
around the world will travel to Portland, Oregon to compete in the
IAAF World Indoor Track &
Field Championships. The Portland Convention Center will have a 200m track
in place, and 8000 fans will fill the arena. Knowing DT is part of the
organizing committee guarantees the event will be fantastic, but I am sure going
to miss him.
To promote the track meet, a kick-off party was held downtown Portland Wednesday
afternoon. Pioneer Courthouse Square filled with hundreds of fans, high school
athletes, onlookers, press and the curious.
Vin Lananna welcomed the crowd
A pole vault bar was installed in front of the stage
and raised to the current world record - 6.16 meters (20.21 feet)
Speaking of the world record in the pole vault, the holder of
said title, Frenchman Renaud Lavilleni, was in attendance today. This public
space was a virtual bowl filled with track super stars at the kick-off today.
Because so many athletes are in Oregon to compete in the Prefontaine Classic
this weekend in Eugene, it was easy for the committee to enlist a large group of
athletes to appear at Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Runners, and a few jumpers, from around the world appeared on
stage in several small groups and were asked a few questions by emcee Jordan
Jordan Kent (center, with microphone - Oregon Duck football player,
basketball player, sprinter and former member of the Seattle Seahawks -
obviously an under-achiever), interviewing (left to right) Sally
Kipyego (Kenya, 10,000m silver medal London Olympics), Aries Merritt (USA,
110m hurdles, World Record holder and Gold medal winner at the London
Olympics), Bernard Lagat (USA, this 41-year-old basically holds every
American indoor/outdoor record between 1500-5000m and has so many Olympic
and World Championship medals he could open a jewelry store... his only
known fault is being a Washington State Cougar), and Liu Xiang (China, 110m
hurdles, 2004 Olympic gold medalist, now retired).
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales
Another highlight of the afternoon was Portland Mayor,
Charlie Hales, announcing the City of Portland was investing nearly two
million dollars in the event - to promote the city to the world. Yeah,
Next the Mayor unveiled the official countdown clock. Only
295 days until the meet begins. Only 300 days until I see Dave again.
Then Sally Kipyego said hi to me! Sally came to one of our
tailgate parties at Autzen Stadium and
we have been BFF since always
politely says hello when we meet.
the athletes posed with the Mayor for the press, a band took the stage,
people started dancing and an hour later the party was over.
DT's full-time (volunteer!) job begins.
Speaking of runners... we will be heading down to Eugene this
weekend to attend the
track meet. NBCSN will have live coverage Saturday from 3:30-4:30p Eastern,
followed by NBC from 4:30-6p Eastern.
However, there is another event that interests us just as much as this IAAF
Diamond League meet - the "Pre Pre". Friday night, Historic Hayward Field will
be filled as fans watch England's super-star, Mo Farah, attempt a world record
in the 10000m. The Friday night meet is free and will also feature a men's
5000m, women's long jump and men's shot put and discus. 7p, Pacific.
Until my next update, I remain, your "I love me some runners" correspondent.
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