Thank you to the citizens of Portland and Oregon for welcoming over 500 track and field athletes from 144 countries to our city, our state and our country to experience the sport at its absolute best during the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships.
Thank you to our 1,200 volunteers, 100 competition officials, 39,233 spectators, our host hotels and our government agencies for making this event successful.
Thank you to Mayor & First Lady Hales and the Portland Commissioners for supporting the event.
Thank you to our Portland 2016 Steering Committee and the TrackTown USA staff for your countless hours of service.
Thank you to all our International and National Partners and Suppliers for their invaluable support.
Thank you to Beynon Sports Surfaces for creating a lightning fast, dazzling green track.
Thank you to the staff at the Oregon Convention Center, where we transformed a “blank canvas” into the best indoor stadium in the world.
Thank you to the local, national and international media – and especially NBC Sports – for telling the stories of the global athletes.
Thank you to the Pioneer Courthouse Square team for creating an atmosphere of splendor and celebration for each of the medal ceremonies in Portland’s living room. Thank you to Orchestra Next, a non-profit group affiliated with the University of Oregon, for playing the national anthems each night.
Thank you to USA Track & Field for its ongoing support and partnership.
Thank you to President Seb Coe, the IAAF competition delegates and staff for the collaborative work on presenting a new and exciting vision for our sport.
Most important, thank you to the athletes and coaches who inspired us during six amazing track and field sessions at the Oregon Convention Center. The citizens of Portland rallied with the citizens of TrackTown to create an awe-inspiring event for the global community.
President, TrackTown USA
2016 Olympic Head Coach – Men’s Track and Field
EUGENE, Ore. – Within the first few bars of “O Canada,” the national anthem of our neighbors to the north, Brianne Theisen-Eaton could no longer contain her emotions, and tears of joy came flowing down her cheeks.
It was her golden moment.
Just two hours earlier, Theisen-Eaton had won her first gold medal on a global stage, setting a national record and world-leading mark of 4,881 points in winning the pentathlon at the IAAF World Indoor Championships at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland.
The first one to greet her with a congratulatory hug was her husband, Ashton Eaton, who was in the midst of competition in the heptathlon, an event he would go on to win for the third straight time at the World Indoor Championships.
Later, Team Eaton would be reunited following the medal ceremonies at Pioneer Courthouse Square, where a tear-streaked Theisen-Eaton stood tall on the awards podium and received her gold medal as a crowd of over 1,500 people cheered wildly for the former University of Oregon standout.
“That was the coolest medal ceremony I’ve ever experienced, by far,” Theisen-Eaton said.
Bringing the medal ceremonies to Pioneer Courthouse Square was but one of many innovations undertaken by event organizers at the meet, which drew a four-day attendance total of 39,283, including sold-out evening sessions on Friday (7,016), Saturday (7,173) and Sunday (7,191) at the Oregon Convention Center.
“I think we exceeded all expectations,” said Vin Lananna, TrackTown USA president and head coach of the U.S. Olympic men’s track and field team. “Everyone has this idea that the track and field fans are only in Eugene, but the city of Portland, and the entire state of Oregon, has a real connection to the sport. This is just the start.”
One of the most popular innovations at World Indoors was the elaborate introductions before each final, where the athletes entered the stadium, one by one, descending a ramp with music blaring, the lights dimmed and enveloped in fog.
The pole vault drew 6,924 fans as a stand-alone event on Thursday; 144 high school athletes representing 36 schools competed on the same track as their heroes in six 4×400-meter relay races; and the official IAAF press conference eschewed formal suits and ties for a more casual setting outside at Pioneer Courthouse Square with the public invited to ask questions of the VIPs and athletes.
In the end, more than 500 athletes from 144 countries competed in Portland. Besides the sold-out crowds at the OCC, thousands more joined the festivities each day and night at Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Here’s what UO alum Laura Roesler told Jeff Smith of the Portland Tribune about her experience.
“Track and field really needed an event like this,” said Roesler, the 2014 Bowerman winner, who placed fourth in the women’s 800 meters in her first international championships. “I hope people walked away from it and bragged about what a good experience this was. Because even though I’m biased, it really was a great time in a great environment.”
On the track, it was a record-setting meet for Team USA, which enjoyed a home field advantage for the first time in 30 years:
The final word belongs to IAAF President Sebastian Coe.
“During the past four days, we have experienced indoor athletics at its finest at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016,” he said. “Top-class entertainment, innovatively presented with light and sound effects, from the introduction of the athletes in the stadium to the medal ceremonies in the heart of the city center.
“We were thrilled by some outstanding performances. The four action-packed days produced 10 world-leading marks, with two championship, seven area and more than 40 national records set in the Oregon Convention Center.
“Indoor athletics offers an intimate experience for sports fans who are separated by no more than a few feet from the athletes in competition. The capacity crowds this week have shown that indoor athletics delivers a great show when well packaged.”