International track and field organizers announced today that Portland will play host to the 2016 World Indoor Championships.
“This is incredible news for a city and a state already steeped in a great track-and-field tradition,” Mayor Charlie Hales said, upon hearing the news.
The International Association of Athletics Federations, the world governing body of track and field, made the announcement following its annual autumn session in Monaco.
The event will draw a wide array of international media and will result in a vast increase in tourism. More than 2,000 hotel rooms likely will be booked, organizers predicted.
Portland bid for the tournament against Birmingham, England. The IAAF Council unanimously approved Portland as host of the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships, set for March 2016, with Birmingham as host of the 2018 edition.
“Council was faced with a nice and difficult task to make a choice between two wonderful bids,” said IAAF President Lamine Diack.
“We recognised that for our sport to grow in the United States it was strategically important (for these Championships) to first go to Portland in 2016,” Diack said. “Following the tremendous success of London 2012 and with Britain already hosting IAAF competitions in 2016 in Cardiff (World Half Marathon) and in 2017 in London (World Championships), that 2018 was better placed for us for Birmingham.”
USA Track & Field President Stephanie Hightower praised Portland’s bid. “This is a win, win situation for athletics,” she said. “It allows us to showcase the sport in the States and leaves the UK with a consistent series of high profile athletics events in the coming years. This decision adds momentum and an exciting frame work to international athletics allowing us to create a logical narrative which shows the world where we are going as a sport.”
The winning bid was announced following a joint presentation by Hightower, TrackTown USA President Vin Lananna, U.S. Track and Field CEO Max Siegel and Olympic gold medalists Ashton Eaton and Hicham El Guerrouj.
Gail Shibley, chief of staff to Mayor Charlie Hales, helped orchestrate Portland’s bid.
“I want to thank the IAAF Council and the leadership of IAAF President (Lamine) Diack for having the confidence to entrust us with the 2016 World Indoor Championships,” Lananna said. “The timing for this event has never been better. We will work tirelessly to create the most awe-inspiring event ever held in the U.S.for the athletes, fans, officials, media, partners and the entire IAAF family.”
TrackTownUSA is the local organizing committee for the meet.
Besides hosting the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2008 and 2012 at Hayward Field in Eugene, TrackTownUSA also serves as the local organizing committee for the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships, the 2015 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, and 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.
“We represent our country’s commitment to the sport of track and field and its athletes,” Lananna said. “We want to demonstrate that commitment with action. We plan to leave a lasting legacy of new facilities, renewed passion and a new model to present indoor athletics.”
Lananna expressed his gratitude for the enthusiastic backing the presentation committee received leading up to the winning bid in Monaco, including letters of support from Gov. John Kitzhaber, Senate President Peter Courtney, Speaker of the House Tina Kotek and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, as well as a large group of private supporters.
“By winning this bid,” Lananna said. “We hope to ignite a spark that will be felt globally.”