INDIANAPOLIS – The U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field will return to the Los Angeles area in 2020, with Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) in Walnut, California, hosting the 10-day event, USATF announced Wednesday.
USATF’s board of directors voted to award the Olympic Trials to Mt. SAC based upon its desire to take the sport’s biggest event to the country’s second-largest media market; the historical strength of the sport in the Los Angeles area; Mt. SAC’s record of hosting elite track events that produce top performances; and a $62 million upgrade to Mt. SAC’s Hilmer Lodge Stadium that will enable the venue to expand to a seating capacity of more than 21,000.
The 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field are currently slated for June 19-28, 2020. Eugene, Oregon, and Sacramento, California, also bid for the Trials.
“The board was presented with three excellent options for the 2020 Olympic Trials,” board chair Steve Miller said. “The board, and especially our active athletes, were clear in their desire to take the Olympic Trials back to Los Angeles. Mt. SAC has long been one of the top meets in the country, from an athlete performance perspective as well as from an organizational perspective. With the stadium upgrades currently planned, we are confident Mt. SAC will provide an extraordinary experience for athletes, fans, officials and volunteers.”
Hilmer Lodge Stadium was the site of the 1968 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field for women and has been the site of many historic moments in the sport. Twenty world records have been set at the stadium, and six world records were tied or broken in one night. The stadium upgrade currently is slated for completion in 2019. Mt. SAC's favorable weather and the area's robust options for transportation and lodging also were cited by the USATF board, which voted 11-2 for Mt. SAC.
“On behalf of Mt. SAC, we are excited and humbled to be entrusted with hosting the Olympic Trials,” Mt. SAC Director of Cross Country and Track & Field Doug Todd said. “Both Eugene and Sacramento have set a very high bar regarding how this flagship event should be presented. We look forward to welcoming the country’s best athletes, fans, coaches and volunteers. Working together with USATF and the USOC, we will deliver an Olympic Trials that is worthy of the great athletes who work so hard for the right to compete there.”
Since its founding in 1959, the Mt. SAC Relays, held each April, has featured many of the United States’ top Olympic athletes. In 1992, 32 of Team USA’s eventual Olympic medalists in Barcelona competed at the Mt. SAC Relays, including Carl Lewis, Gail Devers, Edwin Moses and Mike Marsh. More recently, Mt. SAC has been the site of top performances by U.S. stars from all event groups, including Allyson Felix, Bernard Lagat, Evan Jager, Jason Richardson, Walter Dix, Carmelita Jeter, Molly Huddle, Shalane Flanagan, Dwight Phillips, Jenna Prandini, Jenn Suhr and Breaux Greer, among many others.
A hotbed for track & field on all levels, from youth to college, elite to masters athletes, Los Angeles last hosted the Olympic Trials in 1984, prior to the Olympic Games the same year. With Los Angeles standing as one of two bid cities for the 2024 Olympic Games, hosting the Olympic Trials in the metropolitan area stands to be part of L.A.’s Olympic legacy, which dates back to the 1932 Games.
“LA 2024 is thrilled to welcome the U.S. Olympic Trials – Track & Field back to Southern California,” LA 2024 CEO Gene Sykes said. “Mt. San Antonio College's renovated Hilmer Lodge Stadium will be one of the world's finest track and field venues and the perfect location to host the nation's top track and field event in 2020. We also hope the Trials will be a preview of more Olympic-quality track and field competition returning in Los Angeles in 2024."
The 2020 Olympic Trials mark the continuation of an effort by USATF to diversify the locations of its championship meets. USATF’s outdoor championships and/or Olympic Trials have been held in Eugene (2012, 2016), Des Moines, Iowa (2013), and Sacramento (2014, 2017), while Portland, Oregon, has hosted the 2016 USATF Indoor Championships and World Indoor Championships. Eugene will host the 2021 IAAF World Outdoor Championships, and Boston and Albuquerque, New Mexico, have hosted the USATF Indoor Championships.
“USATF has been very deliberate and strategic about cultivating relationships with cities and local organizers who are capable of and interested in hosting our largest events,” USATF CEO Max Siegel said. “The level of interest in the 2020 Olympic Trials is a reflection of that effort. With a strong base of world-class local organizers, our sport will continue to thrive.”
About U.S. Olympic Team Trials
A collaboration between the United States Olympic Committee and its National Governing Bodies, U.S. Olympic Team Trials are held in multiple sports prior to each edition of the Olympic Games and allow athletes to vie for the honor of representing Team USA. Often the last stop in an athlete’s journey to the Olympics, the Trials also offer fans an up-close experience with America’s sports heroes before they go on to compete on the world’s biggest stage. Selection procedures for each sport are developed by the NGBs in concert with the USOC and follow parameters set forth by each International Federation.