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Sacramento to host 2014 national track and field championships

Sacramento has been chosen as host city for the 2014 USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, a five-day event to be held at California State University, Sacramento, a source with knowledge of the plans told the Bee Monday.

Officials with the Sacramento Sports Commission declined comment, but have scheduled a joint news conference with USA Track & Field Tuesday morning for what they describe as a “major announcement.”

“I’m not going to confirm or deny, but we are very excited about the announcement,” said Mike Testa of the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau, which has run the Sacramento Sports Commission since January. “Since day one we have been trying to bring major track and field back to Sacramento.”

The press conference will be held at Sacramento State, and will be attended by Mayor Kevin Johnson, Sacramento State president Dr. Alexander Gonzalez, officials with USA Track & Field, and officials with the Sacramento Sports Commission.

The annual event, which typically takes place in late June, attracts the country’s best male and female track athletes. The choice of Sacramento as host city continues a long tradition of major track events in the capital city area, including five previous national track champion meets, in 1968, 1981, 1995, 2000 and 2004, when the event served as the U.S. Olympic track trials.

Northern California previously also hosted the track Olympic trails in 1968 at Echo Summit, preparation for the high-altitude Olympics later that summer in Mexico City.

Eugene, Oregon hosted the track Olympic trials in 2008 and 2012, and will again in 2016.

Sacramento last hosted a major track event in 2011 when the sports commission landed the World Masters track championships at Sacramento State.

That event led to troubles for the sports commission, however. A scathing audit revealed the sports commission had not paid back a $400,000 city loan after the Masters event. City officials cut off funding for the commission, and instead consolidated a new sports commission under the control of the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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