The 2020 U.S. Olympic track and field trials will be held at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, bringing the event back to Southern California for the first time since the women’s Olympic trials were held there at Hilmer Lodge Stadium in 1968. The men’s and women’s Olympic trials haven’t been staged together in the Los Angeles area since 1984, when they were held at the Coliseum in advance of the 1984 Games.
Twenty world records have been set at Hilmer Lodge Stadium, the longtime site of the Mt. SAC relays. The stadium is undergoing renovations and is scheduled to reopen in 2019 with an expanded seating capacity of 21,000. The trials, scheduled for June 19-28, 2020, will select the U.S. track and field delegation for the Tokyo Games.
The last three U.S. Olympic track and field trials were held at Hayward Stadium in Eugene, Ore., the city known as Track Town for its pervasive running culture. The 2000 and 2004 trials were held at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento. Attendance was robust in both cities and both made bids for the 2020 trials. Los Angeles, once the home of many professional track and field meets, hasn’t supported the sport at the pro level in recent years, leaving the Mt. SAC Relays the area’s most prestigious competition.
However, Los Angeles’ candidacy to host the 2024 Olympics and the likelihood it will get the Games then or in 2028 boosted the trials bid. USA Track and Field’s board of directors voted 11-2 for the Mt. SAC proposal.
“Southern California and the Los Angeles area is nothing less than a hotbed for track and field as a sport, and that is true from youth sports and clubs through elite athletes through even masters athletes, and that culture is decades long,” Jill Geer, chief marketing officer of USATF, said in a phone interview. “So when you combine that with the excitement of the Olympic trials and even more of the Olympic spirit that’s in L.A. right now, we feel very confident in the ability to draw a sellout crowd for the 2020 trials.”
USATF board chairman Steve Miller said the choice was easy.
“The board, and especially our active athletes, were clear in their desire to take the Olympic trials back to Los Angeles,” he said in a statement.