TrackTown USA president Vin Lananna wins USA Track & Field presidency by acclamation
TrackTown USA president Vin Lananna was voted president of USA Track & Field during a meeting on Thursday in Orlando, Florida.
Initially, it had been a two-person race between Lananna and former Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee. The latter later withdrew her name from consideration, leading to a Lananna win by acclamation.
Thank you to all of the athletes and members of the Track and Field Community for the support. I am humbled by your confidence:
— Vin Lananna (@vinlananna) December 1, 2016
The 63-year-old will succeed Stephanie Hightower, whose term has expired. She held the presidency for the past two terms and was un-eligible to run again. Leading up to the election, several professional athletes had tweeted their support for Lannana, namely Greek Olympian Alexi Pappas, who drafted a long letter detailing how he had identified her potential.
Now that Lananna has achieved his goal, athletes have been quick to congratulate him on his new position.
— Lauren Fleshman (@laurenfleshman) December 1, 2016
— Deena Kastor (@DeenaKastor) December 2, 2016
The USATF presidency is an unpaid position. As the president, Lananna leads the board of directors in setting policies, guiding the direction of the organization and has hiring power over the CEO.
According to a Runner’s World article, the core issues that Lananna aims to tackle are resolving the differences between the youth committee and the USATF leadership, improving communication and transparency of the organization’s thought process, relooking elite athlete compensation and promoting the sport.
The athletics community recognizes Lananna as a visionary constantly striving to improve the status of athletics in the U.S. Most recently, he served as the men’s head coach of Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where the contingent bagged 32 medals – the highest ever in a non-boycotted Games.
Ever since Lananna stepped foot into Eugene in 2005, he has been at the forefront of the athletics scene. He owned leadership roles in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials hosted at Hayward Field and served as the University of Oregon’s track & field head coach from 2005-2012.
He then moved on to become the TrackTown USA President, during which he organized the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships, brought the 2016 World Indoor Championships to Portland and won the bid for the 2021 IAAF World Championships to be held in Eugene.
The TrackTown Summer Series held last July at Hayward Field is the latest of his efforts in making track and field more visible to Americans.
“We have all these people out there who run and there’s no connection between those who run and those who are fans of the sport,” Lananna said in the Runner’s World article. “I think athletes are fantastic entertainers. We have to make sure they are compensated. The only way to do that is to have a better broadcast of our meets.”
Currently, Lananna will continue with his duties as the TrackTown USA president and the university’s associate athletic director.
Follow Romaine Soh on Twitter @mainetainpls