Clockwise top left: Bill Dellinger and Jim Bailey training at Hayward Field in 1955; The mythical Steve Prefontaine, University of Oregon’s famed alumni and one of the greatest runners ever, whose life was tragically cut short at age 24 in a car accident; Newly renovated Hayward Field; The women of gold medal winning Team USA 4 x 100m relay; Seiko Prospex Speedtimer World Athletics Championships Oregon22 Limited Edition
The 2022 World Athletics Championships concluded last weekend with another thrilling gold medal performance by Team USA in the Womens 4 x 400m relay anchored by Sydney McLaughlin. It was a blazing follow-up performance for this running sensation who had broken her own world record once again on Friday night in the 400m hurdles with a dominating gold medal win. The Team USA women also took gold in the 4 x 100 relay on Saturday, shocking favored Jamaica with a upset win.
These were just a few of the highlights that made these World Championships so memorable — especially for this editor who had the opportunity to attend as a guest of Seiko, the Official Timekeeper, and run a lap on the same storied track as the world’s greatest runners.
For the first time in history the World Athletics Championships were hosted in the US at legendary Hayward Field at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. Otherwise known as TrackTown USA, it was in Eugene that Nike was born, and where its co-founder, University of Oregon Track & Field head coach Bill Bowerman famously created the first waffle trainer that Nike would later produce, inspired by his wife’s waffle iron. Bowerman was the head coach from 1948-1972, succeeding Bill Hayward for whom the field is named.
Clockwise top: World Athletics Championships Oregon22 Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Chronograph with black leather strap that is also included; Case back on right; Sydney McLaughlin breaking world record in gold medal win in 400m hurdles; Seiko’s JMS (Jump Management System) introduced at Oregon22 uses a 300FPS high-speed camera to judge the take-off in long jump and triple jump events; Bill Hayward
Hayward Field was originally built in 1919 as a football stadium and was beloved for its nostalgic ballpark charm. The site of numerous NCAA Championships, US Olympic Trials, National Championships, the Prefontaine Classic and more prestigious meets, Hayward Field underwent an impressive $270 million renovation from 2018 to 2020 with the financial support of Nike’s other co-founder Phil Knight. His goal was to create a world class venue to host the World Athletics Championships in the United States.
Seiko has been timing athletic events since the 1960’s, and been the Official Timekeeper of the World Athletics Championships since 1985. Their history of innovative timing on the global sports stage began at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, where they were the Official Timekeeper and set a new standard of precision with a stopwatch that could measure 1/100th of a second. Oregon 2022 marks their 17th consecutive World Athletics Championships as Official Timekeeper, commemorated by a special limited edition Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Mechanical Chronograph.
The Seiko Prospex Speedtimer World Athletics Championships Oregon22 Limited Edition pays homage to brand’s sports heritage and this hallowed track with a number of special features. A sand patterned dial evokes the texture of the running track, highlighted by the second hand and 30-minute counter in yellow, the color of all Seiko’s timing and measurement devices. The event emblem is printed on the sapphire crystal case back with “LIMITED EDITION” and the number in the edition of 400. Perhaps most distinctive are the oversized chronograph buttons inspired by that 1964 stopwatch design.
Clockwise top left: 1964 Seiko stopwatch introduced at Tokyo Olympics; Hayward Field circa 1930’s; 1969 Seiko Speedtimer; Your editor running her own 400m at Hayward Field; Photo finish technology produces 2000 images per second as runners cross the finish line, which are then stitched together to create these exaggerated images; Bill Bowerman handmade prototype track spikes with waffle sole and prototype logos which bear a remarkable resemblance to the Nike Swoosh
A number of new timekeeping innovations were introduced at these championships as well, such as JMS (Jump Management System) which uses a 300FPS high-speed camera on the take off in the long jump and triple jump to determine if a jump is legal or foul jump. The camera captures images at the instant of the athlete’s take-off, which are instantly displayed on a monitor for the judges to see if the jump is valid. A lamp installed next to the take-off board flashes green for a valid attempt or red for an invalid attempt. VDM (Video Distance Measurement) system is used to measure the distance of jumps in sand pit events and throws in shot put events.
Seiko and the IAAF, the governing body for World Athletics, have renewed their long-standing partnership through 2029. With Oregon22 now behind us, we look to the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23, and more world record, gold medal winning performances!