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Everything is in Motion at the IAAF World Junior Championships

Published: July 25, 2014
Note: The IAAF World Junior Championships came to Hayward Field June 22 - 27 and brought some of the best young track and field stars from around the world to Eugene. Travel Lane County's Juanita Metzler volunteered at the event and wrote a series of blogs sharing her experiences. 
Day 1: We entered Hayward Field hours before the athletes showed up to finish preparation for their arrival as well as the beginning of the IAAF World Junior Championships. I’ve walked into many venues just before an event is set to open, but walking around Hayward Field is always particularly thrilling, especially for this competition. You know that something special is just waiting to happen over the course of the next six days. Perhaps a new record or two will be set, positive interactions will occur between competitors from differing nations, and most certainly, a life changing opportunity will be presented to many of the young people competing. They are only 16 to 19 years old and for many, they have never been to the United States before.

Colorful flags represent the nearly 200 countries that the athletes call home

Colorful flags represent the nearly 200 countries that the athletes call home

When the athletes entered Hayward Field some walked and others ran in. Some used their country’s flag as a backdrop for pictures, while others jumped for joy as a team with Hayward in the background or were photographed individually. I saw several young athletes reenact the famous Usain Bolt “lightning bolt” pose.

Tuesday was all about movement. Behind the scenes, workers carried equipment and finalized the set up. Flags waved in the breeze and spectators in the grandstands encouraged the athletes with cheers, clapping, and by wearing the flags and/or colors of those they were supporting. Our home crowd also participated by answering questions, giving directions, and expressing an overall sense of welcome.

U of O's Global Research Interactive Map promotes their international academic reach

U of O's Global Research Interactive Map promotes their international academic reach

Everyone socialized outside of the grandstands where you could run in human-size hamster wheels, ride bicycles to generate power, and check out the University of Oregon’s global interaction booth. In the evening, flags representing each athlete’s nation were paraded around Hayward Field.

But the greatest piece of movement was the closing event: the Men’s 10K Finals. A band in the center of the field played a special musical arrangement for the entire 30 minutes of the race. The music was soft and slow, then loud and intense, staying in sync with the runners throughout the race. The crowd loved it and I think so did many of the athletes.

I can’t wait to see what Day 2 brings!

Author: Juanita Metzler

A native Oregonian, Juanita Metzler loves business and event planning. When not working an event or visiting with planners she enjoys traveling, anything with the Oregon Ducks, trips to the beach and volunteering, with a cup of tea in her hand.