Soggy start for Olympic track trials in Eugene

Credit: Getty Images

EUGENE, OR - JUNE 22: Ashton Eaton reacts after competing in the shot put portion of the decathlon during Day One of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 22, 2012 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)


by Katherine Cook

Bio | Email | Follow: @KCookKGW

Posted on June 22, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Updated Saturday, Jun 23 at 4:36 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The stage was set at Hayward Field on Friday, the second day the US Olympic Track & Field Trials.

The morning was mild and dry, but as soon as the starting gun went up, the heavens broke. It rained, and sometimes poured, over every event.

The weather didn’t dampen the performance of decathlete Ashton Eaton. The University of Oregon graduate, favored to win the event, simply shined. Besides taking lead after the first day of competition, Eaton broke two decathlon world records; the 100 meter dash, (10.21 seconds) and the long jump (27 feet).

Friday’s weather was a stark contrast to the 2008 US Olympic Track & Field trials, when a heat wave consumed athletes and spectators in Eugene. Emergency sprinklers and water stations were set up.

This time around, the stands were aglow with a wash of yellow, plastic rain slickers and wide-brim hats, but moods stayed bright among fans.

“We're from Southern California,” said John Beattie. “We’re die-hard track fans so we're here!”

Jerry Ellis and his son flew up from Dallas, Texas, and said the weather in Eugene was a refreshing break.

“It's 100 degrees back home so we're glad to be here!” Ellis said.

Besides the thousands of fans who packed the storied track facility, the event was covered by droves of media members. According to USA Track & Field, more than 600 received their press credentials.

TrackTown12 continues through July 1.