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After spending the last three trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., the Olympic Team Trials for Track & Field will return to California, specifically Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) in Walnut. The dates are currently June 19-28, and we are so stoked to have them in Southern California. Eugene, Ore., who hosted the last three trials, and Sacramento, Calif., who hosted the 2000 and 2004 trials, also bid to be hosts.
“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 track trials 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—dang! The stadium upgrade is currently planned to be completed by 2019, and Mt. SAC’s favorable weather, as well as the area’s robust options for transportation and lodging, were also reasons for the choice, which apparently was an 11-2 decision with the board.
“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 included many of the nation’s top Olympic athletes. In 1992, 32 of that year’s Olympic medalists competed at the Mt. SAC Relays, including Carl Lewis and Gail Devers. More recently, Mt. SAC has been the site of top performances by some of our favorite U.S. athletes in so many events—including Allyson Felix, Bernard Lagat, Molly Huddle and Shalane Flanagan, to name a few.
Los Angeles last hosted the Olympic Trials in 1984, prior to the Olympic Games the same year. With Los Angeles still one of two cities up for the 2024 Olympic Games, hosting the Olympic Trials in three years’ time 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.”
This decision serves as a continuation of USATF’s efforts to host meets in varying cities to diversify its crowds and locations.