Sometimes your best just isn't good enough. Despite an impressive campaign filled with #VoteTrackTown hashtags and banners over the student section at a Ducks football game, Eugene's bid to host the 2019 IAAF World Championships fell short on Tuesday. Doha, Qatar was awarded the games in a narrow 15-12 vote.
After none of the three cities received the required 14 votes on the first ballot, Barcelona was eliminated, leaving Doha and Eugene. In the first round of voting, Doha received 12 votes, Eugene received nine and Barcelona received six. After about two hours, Doha narrowly edged out Eugene to host what will be the biggest sporting event in the world.
The main concern surrounding Eugene hosting the meet all along was size, or lack thereof. Hayward Field would have needed to go under massive renovations to expand capacity from just over 10,000 to 30,000 seats just to even meet minimum IAAF requirements. The city of Eugene itself is nearly 10 times smaller than Doha or Barcelona. Hotels would be bulging at the seam, and I'm guessing the accommodations at Bean wouldn't exactly wow the committee.
Despite falling short of hosting the 2019 World Championships, the state of Oregon still has plenty on their plate in the near future. In 2016, Portland will host the IAAF World Indoor Championships while the 2016 Olympic Trials for track & field will return to Hayward Field for the third straight time. And for what it's worth, before being awarded the 2019 World Championships, Doha hosted the World Indoor Championships in 2010.
As Eugene wrapped up their presentation, TrackTown USA president Vin Lanana told the council: "Destiny is calling. America is waiting. Eugene is ready."
In the end, despite having the support of a passionate community that has track & field in its blood and a city that is so well known for track, they call it TrackTown USA, Eugene was simply overpowered by Doha. When you throw Eugene into the mix of upcoming host cities (Beijing in 2015, London in 2017, Doha in 2019), one can easily think, "What business do you have trying to throw your hat in this ring?"
I wish the IAAF council could have been there when Ashton Eaton broke the decathlon world record on his home track at the 2012 Olympic Trials. I wish they could have been there when 16-year old Jordan Hasay ran her heart out on the Hayward Field track to qualify for the 1500 meter finals. I wish they could have been there when Nick Symmonds and Andrew Wheating came roaring off the Bowerman Curve to become Olympians.
Because you see, it's not always about who has the biggest stadiums or the fanciest hotels. Hayward Field possesses its own magic, something that you'll never be able to convey to a council in a board room. Any athlete who has raced there can attest to it. If the IAAF's goal is to grow the sport of track & field, TrackTown USA is where the world needs to come. The world may not come to Eugene in 2019, but as Lanana said, destiny is calling and Eugene is ready.