Lananna to coach Team USA in Rio Olympics

EUGENE, Ore. - When TrackTown USA hosts the 2016 USA Track and Field Olympic Trials at historic Hayward Field, Vin Lananna will be looking at more than the third consecutive Olympic trials held in Eugene under his leadership.

He'll be watching his team take shape.

USATF selected Lananna as coach of the 2016 men's track and field team for the Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. He said he knew about the nomination six months ago. Once he heard that he won, Lananna said he didn't think twice about accepting the position.

"A gigantic honor, it is often bestowed on those who spent a lifetime of putting their time into the sport. It represents a strong relationship with the athlete," he said.

Lananna said he knows the weight resting on his shoulders and how much the Olympics mean for U.S.A. athletes.

"He or she is 10 or 25 years old, they talk about making the Olympic team. So this is their one dream and you are kind of responsible for that whatever it is they're going to do. You have to create an environment for them to achieve that," he said.

As the president of TrackTown USA, Lananna led the effort to bring the Olympic trials to Eugene in 2008 and again in 2012.

The organization won the right to host the NCAA Outdoor Championships through 2021.

And the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships helped pave the way for a winning bid to host the 2021 IAAF World Championships at Hayward.

In a coaching career that spans 35 years, Lananna led teams to 11 NCAA titles and 42 conference crowns. Athletes under his coaching have won nearly 60 NCAA individual titles.

His coaching career has taken him to the Olympics before as an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. He was head coach at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. He was an assistant coach at the 1999 IAAF World Championships, head coach for Team USA at the 1990 and 1996 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, and head junior team coach at the 1994 IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

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