USA Track & Field trials, which were to take place June 19-28 at the University of Oregon’s newly renovated Hayward Field in Eugene, will likely be postponed, as the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee announced Tuesday that the 2020 Summer Olympics have been postponed to next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Olympics were set to be held from July 24-Aug. 9 in Tokyo, Japan. The Olympic and Paralympic Games will now take place no later than summer 2021, according to an IOC press release.
TrackTown USA CEO Michael Reilly released a statement Tuesday, saying that TrackTown USA is working with USATF and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee to reschedule the trials.
“Although it is not yet clear how long it may take to finalize a new date for the event, our Local Organizing Committee stands ready to welcome the best athletes in the country to the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field once a decision is reached,” according to the statement.
TrackTown USA is finalizing its policies so customers can request refunds for their tickets or retain their tickets for the event when it is rescheduled.
UO said in a statement that the health of students, staff, faculty, and the broader community continues to be its first priority.
“We continue to work closely with federal, state and local agencies on limiting the spread of COVID-19. Questions about individual events should go to the appropriate governing bodies and organizing committees,” according to the statement. “The university looks forward to hosting future national and world events. Hayward Field will be completed this spring and we will celebrate one of the world’s finest facilities for track and field when the time is right.”
The USATF organization called on the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee March 20 to advocate for a delay of the games.
“Our goal remains to achieve athletic excellence during the Olympic Games, but not at the expense of the safety and well-being of our athletes,” wrote USATF CEO Max Siegel in a letter to the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committees that was also posted to Twitter.
According to the IOC press release, while Japan is making “great progress” in fighting COVID-19, the committees postponed the Olympics in light of the World Health Organization Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stating that the pandemic worldwide is “accelerating,” with over 372,000 cases reported as of Tuesday.
The games will retain the name “Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020,” according to the statement, and the Olympic flame will remain in Tokyo. “The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present.”
The World Athletic Championships, which are currently scheduled to be held Aug. 6-15, 2021 at Hayward Field, may also reschedule due to the Olympics’ move to that year.
According to a statement from World Athletics, it is ready to work with the IOC on alternative dates, and it is working with the World Athletics Championships Oregon 21 organizing committee to “ensure that Oregon is able to host the World Athletics Championships on alternative dates, including dates in 2022.”