Jul 15, 2022 - Sports

Track and Field World Championships kick off in Oregon

TrackTown USA

Photo: Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The 18th Track and Field World Championships begin today at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field, the largest track and field-specific stadium in North America and the birthplace of Nike.

Why it matters: This is the first time the sport's most prestigious non-Olympic event has ever been held on U.S. soil. Not a bad place to make its debut.

The backdrop: The iconic venue in Eugene — a city known as TrackTown USA — has never looked better nor provided a better viewing experience for fans.

  • Its $270 million renovation, unveiled in 2020, pushed the lowest tier of seats closer to the track and packed a majority of seating around the finish line to build energy at the end of races.
  • After a fanless 2020 and a tame 2021, this year has been the new field's coming out party, hosting the Prefontaine Classic, NCAA Championships, Nike Outdoor Nationals, U.S. Track Championships and now the worlds, all since late May.

What to watch: Nearly 2,000 athletes from almost 200 countries will descend on Hayward for the next 10 days to compete in 49 events. A few storylines to follow:

  • Farewell, Felix: Allyson Felix, the most decorated track and field athlete ever, is retiring after this season. She'll compete in just one event, the 4x400 mixed relay.
  • Studs in the 400m hurdle: American Sydney McLaughlin has broken the world record three times in the past 13 months ... Norway's Karsten Warholm could become the first person to win this event at three consecutive worlds.
  • Budding rivalry: Americans Noah Lyles and Erriyon Knighton finished 3-4 in the 200m at the 2020 Olympics and 1-2 last month at nationals. Time for round three.
  • Visa issues: Nearly 100 international athletes and officials are still trying to get to Oregon due to an overly complicated visa process. "This is ridiculous!" said American sprinting legend Michael Johnson.

How to watch: NBC, USA, CNBC and Peacock will air 43 hours of coverage over the next 10 days.

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