With the USATF Outdoor Championships heading to Sacramento for the seventh time in June, Sacramento is building up a head of steam entering the homestretch.

USA Track & Field officials confirmed this week that Sacramento is one of three finalists to hold the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials. Sacramento played host to the eight-day Olympic Trials in 2000 and 2004, setting attendance records that still stand. The other 2020 finalists are Eugene, Ore., and Walnut, Ca.

A press conference Tuesday morning at Sacramento State’s Hornet Stadium included the Olympic Trials announcement as well as news that single-day tickets for the 2017 USATF Championships go on sale Friday at www.sacsports.com.

The USATF Championships begin Thursday, June 22, and continue through Sunday, June 25. With a field that includes virtually all of the U.S. Olympic medalists from the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro – and with berths at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London on the line – the 2017 USATF Championships is certain to  add to Sacramento’s rich track legacy.

Expected to vie for national championships barely a month from now are Olympic gold medalists Allyson Felix (200 meters), LaShawn Merritt (400 meters), Matt Centrowitz (1,500 meters), Christian Taylor (triple jump), Michelle Carter (shot put), Tianna Bartoletta (long jump), Ryan Crouser (shot put) and Kerron Clement (400 hurdles).

Joining Sacramento State and Sacramento Sports Commission officials at Tuesday’s announcement were Sacramento-area Olympians Kim Conley (5,000 meters), Kate Grace (800 meters) and Stephanie Brown Trafton (discus). Four years before winning an Olympic gold medal in 2008, Brown Trafton qualified for her first Olympic team in Sacramento. She narrowly missed qualifying for her fourth Olympic team in 2016. Also on hand Tuesday was nationally ranked steeplechaser Leah O’Connor and Drew Wartenburg, founder and coach of the NorCal Distance Project.

Conley, a two-time Olympian in the 5,000 meters, won her first national title at the 2014 USATF Championships in Sacramento, riding a hometown wave to victory in the 10,000 meters.

“It was a culmination of so many things coming together for me in Sacramento,” Conley said of her 2014 victory. “The energy in the stadium made a huge difference. I can’t wait to try to do it again.”

Grace, a 2016 Olympic finalist in the 800 after joining Conley in the Sacramento-based NorCal Distance Project, remembers watching her future training partner’s win from the stands in 2014.

“I’ve never had that home crowd experience before,” Grace said. “I’m looking forward to experiencing it myself.”

USA Track & Field will announce the host city for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials in late June. The Sacramento Sports Commission submitted its bid on May 8 and will host the site selection committee from USA Track on June 1.

“Being a finalist for the 2020 Olympic Trials definitely puts a jump in our step as we get ready for next month’s USATF Championships,” said Sacramento Sports Commission Director Mike Sophia. “Sacramento track fans are second to none, and we’re committed to keep bringing them the biggest meets.”

Sacramento previously played host to the U.S. track championships in 1968, 1981, 1995, 2000, 2004 and 2014. 

Daily tickets for the 2017 USATF Championships range in price from $18 to $55.

Media interested in covering the 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships should apply for credentials on the USATF web site at the following link:



Bob Burns