Sunday, July 24, saw the epic conclusion to the World Athletics Championships Oregon22, the first World Championships held on U.S. soil.
“It was an honor that Oregon was chosen to host this prestigious event, and we are so grateful to have welcomed the world to our home,” said Governor Kate Brown. “Over the past 10 days we experienced an extraordinary display of athleticism, spirit, and diversity. I’d like to thank all the organizers and volunteers for putting their heart and soul into making this event a success. I would also like to extend congratulations to all the athletes who brought your season and career aspirations to Hayward Field—no matter the outcome, your competitive spirit and determination are an inspiration to us all.”
Over the course of 10 days, nearly 150,000 ticketed persons were treated to unbelievable competition and warm hospitality at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon. Tickets were purchased by fans from all 50 states and nearly 40 countries.
The athletes delivered again and again, with three world records highlighting the action on the track and in the field. In the end, more than 1,700 athletes from 179 countries (plus the Athlete Refugee Team) competed in Oregon. In terms of performance, this will go down as the most universal edition in the history of the event. A record-breaking 29 countries won gold medals at these Championships, compared with 26 in 2017. Plus, more countries than ever before had athletes reach the finals of their respective events in Oregon. 81 countries achieved the milestone, with Liberia, Niger, Pakistan, Samoa, the Philippines, and Guatemala reaching a final for the first time in World Championships history.
Team USA broke the record for the most medals at a single World Championships, earning 33 in total – 13 gold, nine silver, and 11 bronze. The U.S. team also had medal sweeps in the men’s 100m, 200m, and shot put. The depth and strength of the U.S. team earned the top spot in the Team Trophy standings.
Some of the performance milestones achieved in Oregon include:
- Three world records: Sydney McLaughlin of the U.S. in the 400m hurdles (50.68), Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan in the 100m hurdles (12.12) and Sweden’s Mondo Duplantis in the pole vault (6.21m)
- 13 championship records and 30 world-leading performances
- 19 area records, 92 national records, 1 world U20 record
- Allyson Felix extended her record medal total to 20 after gold in the women’s 4x400m relay and bronze in the mixed 4x400m relay
There were magical moments beyond the incredible performances as well. A yellow, furry creature managed to capture the hearts of athletes, officials, broadcasters, and fans alike. Legend the Bigfoot, who just couldn’t stay in hiding with an event as big as the World Championships happening in Oregon, thoroughly enjoyed delighting the crowds at Hayward Field.
Six sessions saw all available ticket inventory sold, with the atmosphere at the stadium festive and deafening for all event finals. NBC reported that these Championships have already reached more viewers (13.7 million) than any previous World Athletics Championships with three days of ratings still to be reported (Friday-Sunday).
Innovations such as the Instant Medals were hugely popular with athletes and fans alike, with athletes having medals placed around their necks in the immediate moments after their glorious performances. The images of triumphant athletes with their medals and flags have been circulated all across the globe.
Athletes were fed and accommodated mere steps from their competition venue in student housing at the University of Oregon. The spirit of togetherness and inclusivity for which track and field is known was reinforced by the camaraderie and energy that was palpable throughout the Athlete Village.
Special thanks are owed to the volunteers and local organizing committee staff who ensured the smooth delivery of the event. 1,583 volunteers gave their time to help in all areas at WCH Oregon22, with 3,486 workforce uniform kits distributed and 10,507 workforce meals eaten over the course of the event.
“The local organizing committee is grateful for each and every partner, business, volunteer, and community member who welcomed the event and all its participants with open arms,” said Sarah Massey, CEO of Oregon22, LLC. “It was through the support of so many people and organizations that this truly was the Best of all Worlds, and we couldn’t be prouder of the success of these World Championships.”
Key initiatives and programs will live on as legacy elements of WCH Oregon22. The sustainability program proudly reflected the responsible and green reputation of the State of Oregon, highlighted by food waste diversion efforts, single-use plastics reduction, and systems in place for materials recycling and reuse.
The curriculum material created for the Making Tracks Youth Engagement Program will live on as archived content to help connect youth to the World Athletics Championships. The on-site Making Tracks activation during the event reached over 180 people per day, while an Inspiration Zone offered the opportunity to over 150 people to have a moment right next to the action to be inspired by the athletes as they entered and exited the track.
The World Wide Welcome Youth Relay included over 8,000 youth representing more than 150 groups in the 100-day lead-up to WCH Oregon22. The program culminated with over 200 youth carrying the flags of the world on the track as part of Opening Day festivities on the first morning of the event.
Looking forward, World Athletics and parkrun have collaborated to help Eugene and Springfield open parkrun events, which will provide free opportunities for members of those communities to be active, stay healthy, and make new friends.