Chaplin Lauds Convention Center Venue for Indoor World Championships, by Elliott Denman


usaindoor track .jpg

View from USATF Indoor, March 12, 2016, photo by Larry Eder

chaplin.jpgJohn Chaplin, from WSU archives

John Chaplin is one of the most interesting and opinionated people in our sport. One of my most excellent days was the National Scholastic Outdoor in 1999, when I followed the famed coach around for the day. He was technical consultant at meet and showed me things I had never considered at a meet.

So, when John Chaplin likes something, that is high praise.

PORTLAND - John Chaplin thinks the world of the Oregon Convention Center track and field venue.
Admiring every nut and bolt, every meter, of the emerald-green track, and all its ancillary facilities, last Saturday as the second day of the USA Indoor Nationals roared to a conclusion, as a final warmup for this weekend's World Indoor Championships, the veteran coach-administrator-official-coordinator, wearer of many of many hats, was downright effusive.
And for a man who has done it all, seen it all in his sport, it was the highest of possible praise.
"I've been to about three or four, of these past World Indoor Championships, as Chef D'Mission (of American teams) and I've seen all the facilities they've been run in, and this is by far the best one," lauded Chaplin.
"Part of the reason is that they got a large enough building, and they built the track to fit the building, instead of just putting the track in a building.
"You can see it was built by someone who understands track, who cares about track,
"There are a lot of very special things about this place.
"The media (area), the press facilities, the presentation we're going to see, and everything else,
They're way above average, way above.
"It all comes down to (Tracktown USA's) Vin Lananna.
"He's a perfectionist and he gets things done.
"He understands what is to be a coach, to be an administrator, and understands that it needs some
Innovative things. Like the medal ceremonies here each night, they're going to be downtown at Pioneer Court House Square."
Innovation clearly runs in Lananna's DNA.
With Lananna and Tracktown USA leading the way, the sport's finally catching on to bringing itself to the multitudes - with such events as the hammer throw held on the Nike campus in Beaverton as a prelude to the 2012 Olympic Trials in Eugene, the shot put held on the California Capitol grounds in Sacramento as a warmup for the 2014 USA Outdoor Nationals at Sacramento State, and looking ahead to the 20K racewalks that will be held around the Oregon State Capitol grounds in Salem that will serve as a prelude to this summer's Trials in Eugene.
(In the big picture, staging the 2004 Olympic shot put events at Ancient Olympia, a day before the balance of the program opened at the Athens Olympic Stadium, was part of all this fan-friendlying process, too.)
"They say the meet (World Championships) will be a sellout (in the 7000-seat venue) and that's a pretty great thing, too," to Chaplin.
World Indoor action is certain to be be bang-bang.
Fields will be far smaller than at the Outdoor Worlds, for instance.
Qualifying standards are intense but will still allow at least 200 nations to send delegates.
American qualifiers - determined at last weekend's USA Nationals, supplemented by the 2014 champions who've been wild-carded into title defenses - are eager to Return to the Convention Center, where they know the home-track advantage will be considerable.
It only took 29 years to bring the World Indoor Championships back to the nation where Indoor track was first created - in the years immediately following the Civil War.
Those 1987 Indoor Worlds in Indianapolis had decidedly mixed results for the home team.
While American men took golds in six of the 13 events on the program - with Lee McRae (60 meter dash). Kirk Baptiste (200), Antonio McKay (400), Tonie Campbell (60 hurdles), Larry Myricks (long jump) and Mike Conley
(triple jump), the best the U.S. women's delegation could manage was a single silver medal (by Lillie Leatherwood in the 400) over the 11-event program.
U.S. medal totals have fluctuated widely over all the years of the Indoor Worlds since and so it is expected be this weekend at the Convention Center. The rest of the world is clearly catching on - and catching up to this indoor track thing.
Most importantly, though, everything will be readiness for the global visitors.
"The facility is obviously ready for big performances and the crowds are ready to see them,"
Lananna tells you.
"We're going to create a new day for track and field.
"Now we already have a great U.S. team and they'll get a great presentation.
"We'll see track and field differently than it's ever been seen before.
"All the athletes will be introduced in the same way they're introduced at every major sport.
"Our team and our athletes are ready for prime time."

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