UO hosts World Athletic Championship 2022

World Athletic Championship Oregon22 Hayward Field

A recap of the international event that took place at the university's Hayward Field

10 Days. 179 countries. More than 1,700 athletes.

That was Oregon22.

From records on the track to world-class research, the 2022 World Athletics Championships showcased  the University of Oregon as it became the first-ever host  on American soil – shining a light on Hayward Field like never before.

Oregon22 illuminated the might of the UO across the breadth of sport and wellness and its deep history of innovation and research right here in Eugene. Who else could host Worlds in America but Tracktown USA?

Over 10 days, 150,000 ticketed fans at the field and more than one billion viewers worldwide watched records get smashed and history be made by more than 1,700 athletes from 179 countries. It was the crowning achievement of Hayward Field’s 101 years.

“Hayward Field is the best track and field venue in the world and coupling that with our incredible residence halls, incomparable team and cutting edge research, we knew that the University of Oregon would host a remarkable event whose legacy would live on beyond the 10 days of competition,” says Carlyn Schreck, executive director of UO’s Sport and Wellness Initiative.

True to form, the University of Oregon didnn’t just make advances on the track. Research and innovation were featured, too. The UO hosted a mental health roundtable with Governor Kate Brown, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, and track athlete Noah Lyles.

Former UO President Michael H. Schill and Brown shared with Emhoff the UO’s recently launched Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health and how it will be instrumental in creating a new workforce of behavioral health specialists to begin filling a critical need in the state’s schools.

The summit was a forum for how the UO is gathering faculty and researchers’ expertise in prevention science, psychology, neuroscience and early education to help address the nation’s urgent mental and behavioral health crisis

Likewise, the UO launched an initiative to increase gender equity globally within track and field at “Out of the Blocks” a live-streamed forum by the Sport and Wellness Initiative to promote greater equity for athletes, who, due to race, disability, or other unjust reasons, have been underrepresented or marginalized.

The panel was moderated by Stephanie Hightower, former USA Track and Field president and chair of the World Athletics Gender Leadership Taskforce. “We as women know we have the ability,” says Hightower, a short distance hurdler who won the 1980 Olympic Trials but missed the Olympics due to a boycott.  But we also have to be in the rooms and have someone in the room speaking for us.”

Event representatives ended the forum by signing a pledge to achieve pay equity and 40-percent female representation in boards as well as coaching and officials.

Oregon22 was also a proving ground for members of the School of Journalism and Communication’s Track Bureau, who held paid positions covering events at Hayward. Nearly 75 UO students worked in journalism roles, shooting photos and videos and writing real-time news pieces. 

Many schools, colleges, and departments, working across disciplines on sport and wellness, contributed to Oregon22.

  • MBA interns from the Warsaw Sports Marketing program helped with advance promotion
  • A landscape architecture professor developed a riverside meadow near the competition venue as an outdoor environmental lab
  • Student envoys assisted each of the 200-plus visiting delegations
  • Air quality sensors were installed at Hayward in 2021 and were used throughout Worlds events to collect data that is used in research for wildfire particulate tracking and other air quality studies.

As the event successfully concluded its ten day run, the world experienced what the locals have long known—the natural beauty of Oregon, the magic of Hayward Field, and the expertise and passion of the University of Oregon community.