Vinn Lananna quotes and some overdue praise

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On the very best day, track & field media eat their young.

For some reason, unlike most other sports media, we will find something to complain about anyday, anytime. Even on the good days.

Knight-Lananna1-USA09.jpgVin Lananna and Phil Knight, photo by PhotoRun.net

And we have had four great days of track & field.

I am reminded of this, each time that I speak with my son, Adam, on the differences between track & field and his favorite sports.

In spite of all the things going around the World Indoors, the folks at Tracktown and Vin Lananna in particular, must be credited with putting on a fine championships. But they did several other things. By preparing a setting conducive to the fast pace of indoor track & field, and despite NCAA Basketball, the shit storm that the sport has been under, and the financial constraints of global athletes, the athletes and fan won.

For four wonderful days, I have written about the sport I love. The young athletes and the veterans. The gesticulaitons of one Erik Kynard, the absolute dominance of Trayvon Bromell, the wonderful confidence of Matt Centrowitz challenged by Nick Willis, a guy who learnt from his last race against Mr. Centrowitz, and pulled the move of the meet: Willis almost stole the race from Centrowitz with a brilliant rush with 300 meters to go.

One thing on Phil Knight. The guy just gave $400 million to Stanford to develop scholars to make the world a better place. Which is what you should do when you have made a few sheckels. He supports track because he loves it. Today he spent some time looking at Mark Cullens' amazing collection of early Nike memorabilia, he does what the hell he likes, and thank god. Watching a world indoor champs on a rainy Sunday in Oregon sounds like a good option.

Here are a few quotes from Vin Lananna, the guy who put this together, with a wonderful team who busted their butts to bring us the best World Indoor Championships that I have ever seen.


Vin Lananna Media Availability Quotes

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The following is from a media session with Vin Lananna, president and chair of TrackTown USA, local organizing committee.

On overall impressions from the championships ...

"It's been a great event in Portland. It's been a great event for the United States. (The U.S.) medal count has been fantastic."

On the medal ceremonies occurring off site ...

"Hopefully it has been entertaining. Pioneer Courthouse Square has been really great. We actually had to have a (one-in, one-out policy) last night it was so crowded. ... To me looking at the athletes' faces when they are on the podium was everything I needed to see."

On U.S. awareness of the championships ...

"I think this is the start. I don't think everything can happen all at once. I think what we have created is a valuable show. The entertainment has been really good, and it is like anything else: People come to something and feel like it's the place to be, then it is easier to transport to other places."

On scheduling against the U.S. collegiate basketball tournament - "March Madness" ...

"The world championships are going to have to be in March. We would have obviously liked to have the emphasis just be on this. In the United States, March Madness is a big deal. We have an opportunity to do both. Our attendance has been fantastic. I don't know what the TV viewership has been, but I think everybody is really (over-)reading all the information in the (local newspaper)".

On the championships as LOC host ...

"I think it has exceeded all our expectations. The TrackTown (USA) staff has had this tremendous partnership with the IAAF. When we first started to put this thing together, we started talking about all these innovations we have like the medal ceremonies outside the venue. Everybody wants a change, and they want to do things a little bit differently. I think this is the first step of the new (IAAF) president's initiative to be more innovative, and be more accessible and I think we have certainly accomplished that."

On feedback from athletes on the medal ceremony ...

"When I was walking out of the track yesterday, the (gold medalist) Italian high jumper (Gianmarco Tamberi) said, 'Does (the orchestra) know the national anthem of Italy?' He was pretty excited about it.

On achievements of the championships and things in which to improve ...

"I think the pole vault worked well . . . the medal ceremonies worked well. I liked the entrances, the lights and all that stuff. I'm a purist; I can watch a track meet as sterile as they have been, but this new wave of track meets and this rock star mentality they have provided has been good. We met with the team from Birmingham (the 2018 WIC host) today. They were impressed. All the athletes and the coaches have all had positive things to say."

On an update for this summer's U.S. Track Series organized by TrackTown USA ...

The U.S. medal count here is going to be a great medal count because we have great athletes here. What impacts that is having track meets in the United States that are big-time meets that are cool and entertaining. Sometime within the next two weeks we will announce our plans for a summer series that will include the 2016, 2017 and 2018 rollout.

On renovations to Historic Hayward Field, host to the 2021 IAAF World Championships ...

"The planning on this has been going on for five or six years. We're at a point now where we have the design build. There will be some renovations this summer and it will be after the summer series. The final for (the summer series) may be one event this year, four events the year after that and six events the year after that. So the renovation will be right after that (occurs).

On meet attendance including more than just traditional athletics fans ...

"I think everyone has the idea that the track fans are just in Eugene. But the state of Oregon has a real connection with the sport. I think if you look at the demographics we have a younger group that's in here."

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