Back in TrackTown USA

It’s the most wonderful time of the year …

Well, to US track and field fans it is. The US track and field Olympic trials are taking place this week in Eugene, Oregon, affectionately known as TrackTown USA. Olympic hopefuls have gathered in Eugene to achieve their dreams, to compete, to win, to represent the country in Rio.

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Competitors will face many hurdles this week.

Reese Hoffa acknowledges that to make the team—in what would be his fourth consecutive Olympic games—he would have to crush someone else’s dream. For all the glory and cheering that comes with these trials, there are tears and defeat, too.

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Reese Hoffa, always a crowd favorite

It’s hard in some events to even know which runner to cheer for. I hate to see the crushed dreams and broken hearts of athletes I admire.

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So many great athletes to cheer for. How do I choose?

But those who do make the team will be jubilant. And we will celebrate with them this week and in Rio in August.

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Winners, American flags, stuffed animals, beautiful smiles

Tomorrow, Katie Mackey will toe the line in the women’s 5,000 meter race. She knows broken dreams. In last year’s US championships, she stumbled toward the end of the women’s 1500 meter race and, though she didn’t fall, couldn’t recover. She ended up in sixth place.

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Mackey, after her sixth place finish in last year’s women’s 1500 meters in the U.S. Championships

Mackey gave an inspiring post-race interview after that unhappy race. She talked of her Olympic hopes and dreams and of the gift God has given her to be able to compete. I’m thrilled to see her back this year for another try.

In the interview, Mackey said, “This sport. Sometimes it will just … it will just break your heart.”

But sometimes, it makes you soar.

Do you have a favorite track and field event? What about a particular athlete you’d love to see competing for the U.S. in Rio?

A note about the photos: I took these at last year’s U.S. championships. Stop back by next week for stories from this year’s trials.

3 thoughts on “Back in TrackTown USA

  1. Pingback: Olympic-sized joys, sorrows and the race that made me cry | The Flourishing Tree

  2. Sometimes track and field events happen in your own backyard or on your own street. For me, the greatest triumph was watching our developmentally delayed son ride a two-wheel bike for the first time when he was twelve years old. His proud look and gleeful expression as he flew down the road brought tears to my eyes. That was a gold medal victory achievement for him and opened up a whole new world for him where he was on equal status with “typical” kids. “Want to go ride bikes?” Yeah, he did. And then he could.

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