Kenyan 10K Olympic Trials Held In Oregon, As Altitude Levels Are Comparable To London
In conjunction with the 38th Prefontaine Classic this past weekend, 14 of the "world’s best distance runners made the journey to the sea-level climes of Eugene,” Oregon, to compete in the Kenyan men’s 10,000-meter Olympic Trials, according to Curtis Anderson of the Eugene REGISTER-GUARD. The decision by Athletics Kenya to move the men’s 10,000 meters to Eugene "sparked controversy within Kenya.” But Anderson wrote, "It makes sense to conduct the 10,000 at sea level as opposed to 5,672 feet in Nairobi, to replicate conditions at the 2012 London Olympics.” Prefontaine Classic Dir Tom Jordan said, “The fact that we will play host to another country’s Olympic Trials is frankly something that I never could have imagined happening.” The race is a “tribute in honor of the late Geoff Hollister, a Nike pioneer, who was instrumental in the creation of many of Oregon’s most notable track and field events.” All of the night’s events were free to the public (Eugene REGISTER-GUARD, 6/1). In N.Y., Mary Pilon wrote Kenyan running officials “needed to take their contenders thousands of miles away from the altitudes and training conditions of their home country to compete in a climate more akin to that of London.” Pilon noted no Kenyan has won an Olympic gold medal in the 10K since the '68 Mexico City Games. News that the Kenyan trials were being held in Eugene “initially baffled some in the track community.” Officials said that the decision “resulted in some backlash in Kenya among those angry that their country’s trials would not be held within their borders.” Nike “financed the journey,” and following the athletes’ arrival in Portland, the Kenyan runners “trained on Nike’s Beaverton ‘campus’ Thursday before heading" to Eugene. The race drew an estimated crowd of 7,800 (N.Y. TIMES, 6/2).