The effects of the coronavirus pandemic have now reached the Oregon sports world. This can be seen in two different stories that have appeared in recent days, concerning high school sports and a world-class track field event.
The World Track and Field Championships Set for 2022
This important international event had been planned to take place in August 2021. It is the first world outdoor championships to take place in the US and will happen at Hayward Field in Eugene. Athletes from just about every country in the world are expected to take part in it.
However, the postponement of the Olympics in Tokyo this summer has caused a knock-on effect that has delayed the event. It has now been revealed that the championships in Oregon will run from July 15, 2022 through to July 24.
The committee that is organizing the event made the announcement, together with USA Track & Field and the international governing body, World Athletics. At the same time, they confirmed that their own name has changed from Oregon21 to Oregon22, to reflect this shift.
The venue is unchanged, with Hayward Field, which is on the University of Oregon campus, still the host. This stadium is currently being renovated in a 2-year project that was due to end in spring 2020 and will mean that it has 2,650 permanent seats, with this total expandable to 25,000.
It is worth noting that this event will be closely followed by the Commonwealth Games, which are to be held in Birmingham, England from July 27 through to August 7. With the European Outdoor Track & Field Championships to take place in Munich, Germany from August 11 to 21, it will be an extremely busy period for some athletes.
Oregon22 executive director Niels de Vos said that the event in Eugene will be “will be kickstarting a global festival of international track and field championships” in the summer of 2022.
High School Sports Suspended
The recent announcement of the closure of all public schools in Oregon for the remainder of the school year has also had an effect on sporting events here. The measures, to try and control the COVID-19 pandemic, were revealed by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, together with Department of Education Director Colt Gill and Oregon Health Authority‘s Dr. Dana Hargunani.
This leads to the total cancellation of the spring season for football, basketball and all other sports covered by the Oregon School Activities Association. As students rely on distance learning until the summer break, there will no chance for young athletes to get together before then.
OSAA executive director Peter Weber called this a, “heart-wrenching decision” and said that it is “difficult for all members of the OSAA family.” Prior to this latest announcement, the start of the season had already been put back to April 28 for sports such as baseball, tennis, and golf.
This suspension doesn’t come as a major surprise. We have already seen pro leagues such as the NFL and NBA forced to suspend their activities due to the coronavirus outbreak. Even the Kentucky Derby horse race was postponed to September. It was widely predicted that college football and football would have to follow suit.
What Does the Future Hold in Store?
It is still too early to predict when the high school sports activities can start up again. With the impact of lockdown measures still being assessed, no one can say for sure when we will next see college sports being played in Oregon.
The dates for the World Track and Field Championships have been set and the organizers seem confident that it will go ahead then. However, with so many variables still to be accounted for, it remains to be seen if this event needs to be shifted again before 2022.