The singular reason more than 1,000 track and field athletes are in Eugene this week is to vie for a spot on the 2016 Olympic team. Spectators have many different reasons to be at Hayward Field.
Tom Hanson is a track coach and teacher from Loveland, Colorado. His passion at Hayward Field is photography. He had prime seats for the 2008 Olympic Trials in Eugene and captured a dramatic picture of the 800 meter finals then, when three Oregonians swept the top spots.
Hanson: “This was Chris Smith, and he just started diving, and so Nick and this guy who had already gone across and he started to dive and so there they are just past the finish line and so I had it in my room, you know, 'what would you be willing to do?'”
The complete caption on the photo says, 'What would you be willing to do to achieve your goals?' Hanson says he loves the trials because something like that 800 final will always pop up.
Here are some other reasons fans have come to Hayward Field this week:
Slaton: “It's always so emotional to me when you see somebody, when they realize that, I'm going to the Olympics, just, that feeling that you kind of take off from them as well how exciting that is to think all that work has paid off.”
Chaffee: “Track and field has always been a passion of mine. So here we have the best, the elite. And it's fun to see them. Fun to watch them, fun to see the fans who know what they're talking about.”
Ellis: “Well it was really wonderful to sit in the stands next to parents, whose children were participating in the activities and the events, and it's just a wonderful atmosphere.”
DeBoles: “Just from the competition standpoint, I enjoy competition. I'm very competitive so it works.”
That was Barbara Slaton from Midland, Texas, Lee Chaffee from Galax, Virginia, Ellen Ellis from Astoria, Oregon and Eugene DeBoles from Orlando Florida.
Whether spectators are former athletes, parents or simply love to pick up on the positive vibes of people fulfilling their dreams, there's a lot of joy in Track Town this week.