Hard work pays off. TrackTown USA, Inc. has continued to focus on incorporating more sustainable practices in the several years since earning its first event certification from the Council for Responsible Sport with the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Track & Field Trials. Now it celebrates the fruit of that enduring labor with two new Evergreen level certifications for its 2016 events.
Already recognized as a global leader in producing sustainable sporting events, TrackTown USA, Inc. achieved a huge milestone this year when two separate events earned Evergreen certification by the Council for Responsible Sport. Evergreen is the highest level of certification granted by the Council and just three events have reached that pinnacle since the current standards (version 4.2) were implemented in 2014.
Now TrackTown USA has delivered two of them – the IAAF World Indoor Championships at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland (March 17-20) and the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field (June 30-July 10).
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales was the official starter for the Middle School 60m Dash at the Oregon Convention Center, which enabled 350 students from Portland public schools to run on the same track used for the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships. (Photo by Josh Phillips)
“We are ecstatic about this recognition of the hard work of our volunteers, committee members and staff to make both events much more than just a track and field meet,” said TrackTown USA President Vin Lananna. “TrackTown USA is committed to hosting events that engage and inspire, whether partnering with public transportation agencies to cut carbon emissions from travel, sharing our diverse wine, beer, and food culture with visitors from around the world, or encouraging youth to get moving through sport and fitness programs.”
The list of initiatives implemented is long for both events; both achieved at least 90 percent of all the available standards across the five responsible sport categories including planning and communications, procurement, resource management, access and equity, and community legacy.
TrackTown USA places a heavy focus on growing the sport of Track & Field and one major way of doing that is providing ways for new people to get engaged. The Nike Run Club House of Track was a particularly significant initiative. Partnering with the City of Portland to build the 200-meter track and infield in a vacant warehouse in northwest Portland, the warehouse was transformed into a community resource in January and February. The House of Track was open seven days/week for athlete training, community runs, and elite track and field meets which drew competitors from around the country. Assembling the track in the warehouse prior to moving it into the Oregon Convention Center for the World Indoor Championships brought the sport of indoor track and field to thousands more.
Thousands of kids participated in the Youth Heptathlon—running, jumping, and throwing in seven events throughout the free fan festival surrounding Hayward Field during the Olympic Trials. For many of the kids, it was their first opportunity to try the events.
Water stations setup throughout the fan festival at Hayward Field reduced the consumption of single-use plastic water bottles.
To achieve high scores in procurement and resource management, the venues themselves were keys to success. Both the Oregon Convention Center (for the IAAF World Indoor Championships) and Hayward Field/University of Oregon campus have well-established environmental programs that provided a foundation for success as organizers strove for high levels of waste diversion and prevention, utilizing green power, and being in close proximity to public transportation.
The Council’s primary evaluation partner, Waste Management’s Sustainability Services team (WMSS) evaluated both events. WMSS consultants provided consistent and systematic evaluations, and provided professional feedback and recommendations. Lee Spivak, the WMSS consultant onsite at the Olympic Trials in July said, “The U.S. Olympic Trials for Track and Field did an impressive job with event material management, utilizing tap water over bottled water, engaging youth in a variety of activities, and educating fans about sustainability through the We Can initiative.”
There’s more to this story. You can read the full press release here for more detail on the efforts that earned these two evergreen certifications. Look out everyone, TrackTown USA just set, and cleared, a very high bar!