The Oregon22 Heritage Trail
World Athletics Championships Oregon22
The footfalls of Oregon-grown track and field athletes crisscross the state. For decades the temperate climate, healthy lifestyle values, and the supportive community has nourished the athletic spirit. While many come to compete or train in TrackTown USA — for some global champions, Oregon is, or has, been home. Whether they got their start here, trained here or retired here, these athletes are an intrinsic part of Oregon's proud athletic heritage.
Twenty Two Legacy Athletes
In honor of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 — the first time the World Athletics Championships has come to the United States — and to commemorate 22 of our state's iconic athletes, the Oregon22 Heritage Trail has been established across the state in partnership with the Museum of World Athletics (MOWA). The museum is an online digital collection documenting prestigious athletic accomplishments across the globe. Along the Oregon22 Heritage Trail, each plaque sponsored by MOWA has been installed in a special location important to that athlete and community. Please see the interactive map at the bottom of the page for each plaque location and more information on each athlete and the host community.
How did we select just twenty-two athletes from the thousands here? (And where is Pre?) We have been home to many familiar and inspirational icons of the sport who aren't on the trail. That doesn't lessen their importance to us. However, the athletes along the Oregon22 Heritage Trail have all met specific criteria that includes global medal status; no doping blemishes on their records; are, or have been, residents of Oregon; and are retired from active competition. These 22 trail-blazing athletes below offer a truly an awe-inspiring collection of stories and achievements.
The City of Roses — Portland — is a robust metropolitan center with miles of paths along the riverfront and is home to the Oregon Zoo, gardens, parks, museums, theaters, craft breweries and innovative restaurants. As Oregon's largest city, Portland is an exciting destination. Check out the World Athletics Heritage exhibit at Pioneer Place in downtown Portland April through July 2022.
Hurdles - Bronze, Stockholm Olympics 1912
Plaque Location: Sport Oregon Building, Portland
Martin Hawkins (1888-1959) was born in Sweden and raised in Portland. He attended the University of Oregon and won the bronze medal for the 110m hurdles during the Stockholm Olympics in 1912. At Oregon he was the top point-scorer for three years.
After graduating with a law degree in 1913, he practiced law as a Portland attorney. He also served in the army as Captain during World War I and then later as a Major in the Reserve Corp. In 1920, he became a judge for the Multnomah County District Court as one of the youngest jurists on the bench at that time. He married in 1921.
Beaverton, known globally by track and field enthusiasts as the headquarters of Nike, comprises many vineyards, orchards and small farms spread across the Tualatin Valley. With a bustling craft beverage industry, farmers' markets and farm-to-table dining — there is plenty to enjoy in this Portland suburb.
Discus - Gold, Montreal Olympics 1976; Gold, Pan Am Games 1979; Silver, Los Angeles Olympics 1984
Plaque Location: Beaverton High School, Beaverton
Mac Wilkins, nicknamed "Multiple Mac" because of his diverse throwing skill, was born in 1950 in Eugene. His father had played basketball for the University of Oregon Ducks. Mac attended the University of Oregon where he exceled in multiple weight throwing events like discus, hammer throw, shot put and javelin. He won the gold medal at the Montreal Olympics in 1976. Unable to compete to defend his title in the following Moscow Olympics because of the U.S. protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Mac returned in 1984 for a silver at the Los Angeles games.
Lake Oswego is a serene suburb to Portland offering a quiet escape from the bustle of downtown. Along the magnificent lake's shoreline discover art venues, great restaurants and boutiques.
10K - Silver, Beijing Olympics 2008; Bronze, IAAF WCCC 2011
Plaque Location: George Rogers Park, Lake Oswego
Shalane Flanagan was raised in Massachusetts by cross country champion parents. She ran for the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, winning national titles. After college graduation, she moved to Portland and ran for Nike. In 2008 she won the bronze for the 10K at the Beijing Olympics which was later upgraded to silver after positive tests for banned substances disqualified the runner up. In 2017, she was the first American woman to win the New York City Marathon since 1977. Shalane also collaborated on the Run Fast Eat Slow cookbook series which became a New York Times Best Seller.
Eastern Oregon is steeped in Oregon's indigenous and pioneer heritage and offers rodeos, steam engines and museums. Explore Baker City's historic downtown and extensive outdoor recreation including river rafting, hiking and elk viewing.
Long Jump - Silver, London Olympics 1908
Plaque Location: Baker High School, Baker City
Dan Kelly (1883-1920) grew up in Baker City, Oregon and broke the existing world record for long jump at Columbia University (now University of Portland) in 1905. He then enrolled at the University of Oregon, and in 1906 tied world records in the 100 meter and 200 meter dashes in the same day. He won silver for the long jump at the London Olympics in 1908, becoming the first Oregon Duck athlete to win a medal during the summer Olympics. His track and field career was cut short due to injuries in 1909.
The city of Sheridan is a small rural community in Yamhill County between Portland and Corvallis with fantastic vineyards and beautiful farmlands.
High Jump - Gold, Pan Am Games 1975; Bronze, Pan Am Games 1983; Bronze, Los Angeles Olympics 1984
Plaque Location: Sheridan High School, Sheridan
Joni Huntley was born in 1956 in McMinnville and grew up in Sheridan, Oregon. She attended Oregon State University in Corvallis and won national titles in the high jump and long jump. She became the first woman to jump six feet in the high jump and won the gold medal at the Pan Am Games in 1975. She competed in the Montreal Olympic Summer Games in 1976 and placed fifth. In 1984, she took home the bronze medal from the Los Angeles Olympics.
Joni is listed in the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.
In the historic downtown of Salem, walk or roll along the riverfront park, ride the carousel, visit the Gilbert House Children's Museum and attend fairs and festivals. Nearby explore wine country or take the kids to the Enchanted Forest theme park.
Pole Vault - Gold, London Olympics 1908
Plaque Location: Gilbert House Children's Museum, Salem
Alfred Carlton Gilbert (1884 -1961) grew up in Oregon and attended Pacific University. He not only won gold for the pole vault in the London Olympics in 1908 — he invented the pole vault box! Alfred Carlton (A.C.) was also a magician, inventor and toy-maker and is best known for developing the Erector Set, as well as marketing chemistry sets, magic sets and toy trains. He married a classmate from Pacific University and had three children. His family home in Salem has been preserved as a children's museum, and that is where the Oregon22 Heritage Trail Plaque honoring A.C. Gilbert has been placed.
A.C. is listed in the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.
Home to Oregon State University, Corvallis is a vibrant college town with an emphasis on agriculture. From the downtown shopping district to the many food and beverage trails encircling the community, Corvallis offers a cornucopia of things to do and see.
Decathlon - Bronze, Barcelona Olympics 1992
Plaque Location: Crescent Valley High School, Corvallis
Dave Johnson was born in 1963 in Missoula, Montana. In 1980, his family relocated to Corvallis, Oregon where he finished high school.
Dave competed in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics. He brought home the bronze in 1992 while competing with a broken foot.
When he retired from active competition he worked as the athletic director at Corban University in Salem and then for Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He coaches at area high schools and colleges and is currently a motivational speaker and book author.
Dave is listed in the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.
110 Meter Hurdles - Gold, London Olympics 1908
Plaque Location: Corvallis Visitor Center, Corvallis
Forrest Smithson was born in Portland in 1884. He was a student of theology and attended both Notre Dame and Oregon State. While he was at Oregon State he was an AAU Champion in the 110 Meter Hurdles and went on to win Gold at the London Olympics.
Forrest was a devoted Christian and it was said he would run with a Bible in his hand. Some even claimed he won the gold at the Olympics while carrying the Bible — allegedly to protest the meet being held on a Sunday. However, the final event was held on a Saturday and this story is deemed to be fiction. A photo does show him clearing a hurdle with a Bible in hand — but it is thought to be posed post-event and it is not an official event photo. He later became a Baptist minister and moved to California.
Forrest is listed in the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.
Bend is a destination playground in all seasons from skiing to summer hiking. Explore the pleasant town with its shops, farmers' market, dining and riverfront park.
Decathlon - Gold, London Olympics 2012; Gold, Rio de Janeiro Olympics 2016
Plaque Location: Pilot Butte Middle School, Bend
Ashton Eaton was born in 1988 in Portland and he was raised in Central Oregon where he attended Pilot Butte Middle School and Mountain View High School. In high school he played football and sprinted. At the University of Oregon, Ashton focused on track & field, becoming the first ever collegian to win three consecutive decathlon titles. He is a five-time NCAA champion and a five-time Pac-10 champion for Oregon.
Ashton competed for the Oregon Track Club Elite and became a local Eugene favorite. He holds the world record in the indoor heptathlon and is the former world record-holder in the decathlon, and won two consecutive Olympic Gold medals for the decathlon.
Ashton married fellow University of Oregon teammate and Olympian Brianne Theisen after the London Olympics. They live in Portland with their son, where he works for Intel as part of the Olympic technology group analyzing human motion.
Coburg is an historic community with antique shops, charming boutiques and restaurants, surrounded by small farms and miles of country roads; this is an excellent destination for running, cycling and horseback riding.
1500/3000/5000 Meters World Cross Country Team - Silver, Barcelona Olympics 1992; 3000 Meters - Bronze, Goodwill Games
Plaque Location: Pavilion Park, Coburg
Annette Peters was born in 1965. Representing the Oregon Ducks at Hayward Field, Annette won three national championships and ten years out of college, Annette still ranked second in all-time Duck performances in the mile. She won the bronze for the 3000 meters at the Goodwill Games in 1994. After graduation she taught elementary school in nearby Springfield.
Annette is listed in the University of Oregon Athletics Hall of Fame.
Springfield is not only the inspiration for "The Simpsons" TV show, it holds equal claims with Eugene for the development of the Nike running shoe since Bill Bowerman's workshop was located here. Springfield offers a charming historic district plus shopping, riverfront parks and access to many outdoor activities.
5000 Meters - Bronze, Tokyo Olympics 1964
Plaque Location: Springfield High School, Springfield
Bill Dellinger was born in 1934 and graduated from Springfield High School. He trained as a middle distance runner under Bill Bowerman at the University of Oregon and was a NCAA winner, All-American and Pacific Coast Conference Champion multiple times. Bill brought home the bronze from the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo for the 5,000 meters. He was a three-time Olympian (1956 Melbourne, 1960 Rome, 1964 Tokyo).
After college he served in the Air Force, later coached at Thurston High School, then at Lane Community College, and eventually joined the University of Oregon as head coach for cross country in 1969. This was the first year that Steve Prefontaine ran. Bill later replaced Bowerman as head coach for Track and Field, and oversaw the development of Steve Prefontaine, Rudy Chapa, Matt Centrowitz and Bill McChesney. In the 1980s and early '90s, he worked with Adidas to develop the “Dellinger Web” which was used to cushion the soles of running shoes.
Bill retired in 1998 and lives in the Eugene-Springfield area with his wife.
800 Meter - Bronze, IAAF World Championships 1997; Gold, Sydney Olympics 2000
Plaque Location: Shana Barr Trail Marker at Willamalane, Springfield
Maria Mutola was born in 1972 in Portuguese Mozambique and pursued sports. At age 15 she ran in the Olympics, but had limited resources for local professional training. In 1991 she was awarded a scholarship to train abroad and enrolled at Oregon's Springfield High School where a staff member spoke Portuguese. That year she finished fourth at the World Championships in Tokyo setting a world junior record and might have medaled but was impeded at the finish line (and the protest unsuccessful). Today she is the fourth female track and field athlete to compete in six Olympics. She holds 10 world titles for the same 800 meter event.
For the later part of her career she moved to South Africa but continued receiving coaching from Margo Jennings, her Springfield High School coach. After retiring from active competition she played football and became a coach herself. An Oregon22 Heritage Trail plaque has been placed for Maria at Shana's Trail — an 800 meter path named for Shana Thomas Barr, a local track athlete who also competed for Springfield High School. The trail is composed of applied aggregate and bark ideal for runners.
800 Meter - Silver, World Athletics Championships 2013
Plaque Location: Island Park, Springfield
Nicholas Symmonds earned the World Athletics Championships silver medal in 2013 for the 800 meters. Born in 1983, Nick is a retired middle-distance track star now residing in Springfield, Oregon. He attended Willamette University and won seven NCAA Division III titles in outdoor track. After college he joined the Oregon Track Club Elite, sponsored by Nike, and won the 800m race in the 2007 Prefontaine Classic. He has competed in that same event at two Olympic Games (Beijing 2008 and London 2012), finishing fifth in London with a personal best.
After retiring he co-founded Run Gum, a caffeinated chewing gum. He married in 2020 and is an avid mountain climber. The Heritage Trail plaque honoring Nick Symmonds was placed in Springfield's Island Park, a popular park for local runners.
Eugene is the heart and home of track and field. With the University of Oregon, the temperate climate and miles of running paths, Eugene is a natural home for runners. Rich in science, technology, farm-to-table foods, the arts and the outdoors; the quality of life here supports health and wellbeing.
Hammer - Silver, Atlanta Olympics 1996
Plaque Location: Alton Baker Park, Eugene
Lance Deal was born in 1961 and graduated from Montana State University. He won the silver medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics for the hammer throw. He was four time Olympian and 21-time national champion. Lance was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2014.
Lance lives in Eugene, where he was a throws coach for the University of Oregon. He also served as the Director of Track & Field Venues and Program Support. Today he is a licensed massage therapist and owns Lance Deal Manufacturing, making and selling hammer cages and discus cages.
Lance is listed in the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.
High Jump - Bronze, Athens Intercalated Olympics 1906
Plaque Location: Shelton McMurphey Johnson House, Eugene
H.W. Kerrigan (1879-1959) was born in Portland and was the first Olympian from the state of Oregon. He trained with the Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland and won the Pacific Northwest high jump championships in 1894 and 1896. Traveling to Athens for the 1906 games, H.W. was injured when a wave hit the ship and impacted his chances for the gold. He went on to tie for the bronze medal in the high jump.
H.W. is listed in the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.
The Heritage Trail plaque is temporary on display at the historic Shelton McMurphey Johnson House in Eugene as part of their Heritage Sports Exhibit.
Heptathlon - Bronze, Goodwill Games 1998
Plaque Location: Charnal Mulligan Park, Eugene
Kelly Blair LaBounty was born in 1970 in Washington and was recruited to the University of Oregon as a talented two-sport athlete. Initially she played on the Oregon Duck basketball team, but eventually focused just on track. Kelly's collegiate heptathlon still stands as the UO school record and ranks third all-time in Pac-10 history. She qualified for the Olympics twice, finishing eighth at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, and was sidelined by injury for Sydney Olympics in 2000. Kelly won bronze in the 1998 Goodwill Games for the heptathlon.
After retiring from competition she coached at Seattle Pacific University, and married former Oregon football defensive end Matt LaBounty. She returned to Oregon as a coach for the University of Oregon until 2008. She currently resides in Eugene with her husband and two sons.
100 Meter Relay - Gold, Mexico City Olympics 1968
Plaque Location: Arts and Technology Academy (ATA) Track, Eugene
Margaret Johnson Bailes is the only Olympic gold medalist who grew up in Eugene. She is also the first Black female inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1991. Margaret ran track at Jefferson Middle School, now the Arts and Technology Academy (ATA) and later at Churchill High School. Her records still stand for the 100-meter and 200-meter. In the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City at age 17, Margaret ran the second leg on the 4x100 meters relay that set a world record.
A new track at ATA was laid in 2009, along with a Nike-sponsored surfacing that included recycled running shoe soles. At that time it was named in her honor. A visit to the middle school track is also a stop on the Strides for Social Justice app.
Margaret is listed in the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.
Heptathlon - Bronze, Rio de Janeiro Olympics 2016
Plaque Location: Amazon Trail, Eugene
Born in Canada in 1988, Brianne Theisen-Eaton holds the Canadian record for the heptathlon. In 2006 she won gold in the heptathlon at the Pan American Junior Championships, where she met fellow track and field athlete Ashton Eaton and joined him at the University of Oregon. There she won back-to-back NCAA heptathlon titles. She continued to rack up titles and medals, taking home bronze in the 2016 Olympics for the heptathlon.
She is married to fellow Olympian Ashton Eaton, and they live with their son in Portland. Brianne currently works for Nike with the Nike Run Club.
Brianne is listed in the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. An Oregon22 Heritage Trail plaque in her honor is on the Amazon Trail.
Team Member - Gold, IAAF World Cross Country Championships 1984
Plaque Location: Amazon Trail, Eugene
Cathie Twomey Bellamy won gold in the 1984 World Cross Country Championships held in Meadowlands, New Jersey. She was an All-American runner at the University of Minnesota, and a charter member of their women's Hall of Fame. She qualified for four Olympic Trials and three U.S. Track & Field Olympic Trials finals, along with winning the indoor national championship in the mile and setting a world best at 20 kilometers in 1982. She joined Athletics West, a Nike athletics team based out of Eugene from the 1970s through the '80s.
After retiring from active competition she remained in Eugene, married Register Guard sports editor Ron Bellamy, and started a family. She continued to stay active in running, coaching at both Marist High School and Sheldon High School, volunteering at many track events, and establishing the premiere Eugene Running Club. Today she manages the tasting room at Silvan Ridge Winery, so it's not a surprise that the Silvan Ridge Twilight 5K has been a popular event for a decade.
Medford is the eighth largest city in Oregon and is the heart of Southern Oregon's Rogue Valley. The Rogue Valley draws visitors from around the world to admire the untouched, natural beauty and Oregon's passion for people and their hand-crafted products.
High Jump - Gold, Mexico City Olympics 1968
Plaque Location: Lithia & Driveway Fields, Medford
Dick Fosbury was born 1947 and attended Medford High School in Medford. At that time the traditional method of clearing the bar in the high jump was a straddle requiring challenging leg coordination. Dick tried new ways of clearing the bar and eventually revolutionized the high jump with an innovative technique dubbed the "Fosbury Flop."
At Oregon State University (studying engineering), his method of "back-first" clearance proved successful when he broke the school record during his sophomore year. Changes in landing surfaces, from traditional track surfaces to softer foam, facilitated the acceptance of his "flop," which was still technically legal, if unusual, at the time. Today, this backwards, headfirst method is used by most elite high jumpers.
Dick brought home the gold for the high jump in the 1968 Olympics.
He eventually settled in Idaho with an engineering company, dabbled in politics, overcame cancer and joined Champions for Peace, a group of famous elite athletes striving to promote peace through sports.
Dick is listed in the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.
Decathlon - Gold, World Athletics Championships 1991, 1993, 1995; Gold, Atlanta Olympics 1996
Plaque Location: Hill-O'Brien Field, Klamath Falls
Dan O'Brien was born in Portland in 1966 and adopted and raised in a large family in Klamath Falls. He enrolled at the University of Idaho and competed in track and field. Dan won gold for the decathlon three times in the World Athletics Championships, and then went on to take home the gold at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.
After retiring from active competition, Dan relocated to Phoenix, AZ, set up a gym in Scottsdale, coached at Arizona State University and continues to work as a motivational speaker and sports correspondent.
Dan is listed in the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.
5000 Meters - Silver, Los Angeles Olympics 1932
Plaque Location: Hill-O'Brien Field, Klamath Falls
Representing the University of Oregon, Ralph Hill (1908 - 1994) set a new American mile record of 4:12.4 in a meet with Washington. Two years later he took home the silver medal for the 5000 meters at the Los Angeles Olympics. Controversy over whether the gold medal winner ought to have been disqualified persisted but Ralph refused to file a protest and graciously accepted silver.
After graduation, Ralph returned to his hometown of Klamath Falls to farm. In 1984 the Olympic Torch came through Klamath Falls and was presented to Ralph. Today, his silver medal and a pair of his running cleats are on display at Henley High School. An Oregon22 Heritage Trail plaque is posted at Hill-O'Brien Field, the high school's track and football field.
Click on the athlete names for plaque location information and more details about each athlete and the host community.
Tips for an Oregon22 Heritage Trail Road Trip
The Oregon22 Heritage Trail is primarily along the Interstate 5 corridor between Portland and Roseburg with a few side trips out to Bend, Baker City and Klamath Falls. Most plaque park and trail locations are open to the public during daylight hours. Please note that school sites may restrict visitors while school is in session. Plan ahead with our Adventure Checklist, check for roadway advisories on TripCheck.com, turn up our suggested road trip playlist and enjoy the beauty across the state.
For more track culture heritage in Eugene, visit Hayward Hall adjacent Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus. From interactive exhibits, extensive memorabilia collections to beautifully commissioned art work, the hall is packed with tributes to Oregon's best athletes.
Not on the Oregon22 Heritage Trail — but celebrated extensively in Eugene — is Steve Prefontaine, a beloved legacy athlete who died tragically at the age of 24, prior to any global medals that it was believed he would win. The World Athletics Heritage honored Steve Prefontaine's legacy in 2019 with a World Athletics Heritage plaque bestowed for the Prefontaine Classic and the Bowerman Mile in the categories of "Competition" and "Legend". The plaque is on display at Hayward Field. A road trip to Steve Prefontaine's hometown of Coos Bay is an additional delightful pilgrimage for the devoted track fan, or you can visit the memorials to him throughout Eugene.