IAAF wants to link 2021 World Championships with LA Olympics
The IAAF, athletics’ world governing body, wants to link the 2021 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon to the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, as it bids to raise the profile of track and field in USA.
Speaking from a site visit in Eugene, Olivier Gers, the IAAF’s chief executive, told Reuters: “We are starting to think about the wrap-up in the US to LA 2028. How do we work with the organising committee of the LA Olympics to maximize the awareness of the sport at the local level?
“We need to use Eugene and LA to bring the sport to a top-four positioning on a global basis.”
Gers said that the challenge for the IAAF in USA “is to make the sport more accessible for the casual fans, the ones who get passionate around the Olympics and then forget it.”
Meanwhile, Gers said that the IAAF had no information suggesting that the bid process for the 2021 championships and the preceding edition in Doha, Qatar in 2019 gave cause for concern.
French prosecutors said in 2015 that the bids were being investigated as part of a wider probe into a doping and corruption at the governing body which is taking in other championships and which has implicated former IAAF president Lamine Diack and his son Papa Massata Diack.
However, Gers said: “At this point we have not been privy to any information that would give us any doubt. We are working with investigative authorities around the world to root out the problems of the past.”
In June last year it emerged that the decision to award the 2021 championships to Eugene was being probed by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The controversial move was also being investigated by the Criminal Division of the Internal Revenue Service, according to the BBC, the UK’s public-service broadcaster.
Eugene, which is closely associated with Nike, the US sportswear giant headquartered in nearby Portland, was awarded the championships, without a bidding process, even though Gothenburg in Sweden had also expressed an interest in hosting the event.
It has been claimed that the FBI and IRS are looking into whether there was any wrongdoing in USA relating to the decision.