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Eugene to host 2012 Olympic Track Trials

EUGENE — The 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials for track and field will be held in Eugene, adding to a long list of high profile track events held there.

USA Track & Field officials and the U.S. Olympic Committee made the announcement Wednesday at University of Oregon, where the event will take place.

Eugene, often known as "Track Town USA," is already scheduled to hold the 2008 trials this spring and tickets have been sold out for months.

University of Oregon's Hayward field also held the trials in 1972, 1976 and 1980.

The trials are the largest national championship track meet in the world, officials said. More than 1,000 athletes will turn out to vie for the chance to represent the USA at the 2012 Olympics in London.

Officials also announced that Eugene will host the 2009 and 2011 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

"The commitment of Eugene, its local organizers and the entire community to track and field is unprecedented," said Craig Masback, chief executive officer for the USA Track & Field organization.

"There is no place quite like Track Town, USA, and we look forward to returning here as we move through the next Olympic Games cycle."

In anticipation of the 2008 trials, Eugene is expanding seating, upgrading the competition and warm-up areas and making other improvements at Hayward Field. The city and school have a long history with track and field, including holding the Nike Prefontaine Classic each year.

"We like to think that Eugene is the spiritual home for track and field in the United States, and we wanted to make it the physical home, as well," said Vin Lananna, associate athletic director at the University of Oregon.