The party at Pioneer Courthouse Square // photo TrackTown USA

The party at Pioneer Courthouse Square // photo TrackTown USA

Track and field

Portland 2016: a track and field innovation lab

PORTLAND, Ore. — For as long as anyone might remember, the mantra in track and field has been: well, that’s the way it has always been done.

The 2016 world indoor championships, which concluded Sunday after a four-day stand at the Oregon Convention Center, offered a different take. Here, it was: let’s try something new.

Brianne Theisen-Eaton  gets a big hug from husband Ashton Eaton moments after she is announced as pentathlon winner // Getty Images for IAAF)"

Brianne Theisen-Eaton gets a big hug from husband Ashton Eaton moments after she is announced as pentathlon winner // Getty Images for IAAF)"

Track and field

Team Eaton: all that is good in track and field

PORTLAND, Ore. — Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen-Eaton are the best thing going in track and field. He won the heptathlon Saturday at the 2016 world indoor championships. She won the pentathlon the day before, her first world title.

It’s not just that they win. It’s how they win. With grace. Dignity. Sportsmanship. Respect for themselves, their fellow athletes and the sport.

USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun addresses the media at the USOC Olympic media summit at The Beverly Hilton hotel. To his right: USOC board chair Larry Probst // Getty Images

USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun addresses the media at the USOC Olympic media summit at The Beverly Hilton hotel. To his right: USOC board chair Larry Probst // Getty Images

Rio 2016

Like a plague of locusts, so predictable

Like one of those locust cycles that erupt with scientific predictability, here we are five months before an Olympic Games and, just on schedule, there’s an outbreak among the ladies and gentlemen of the press of OMG the-sky-is-falling. What, you say? These Rio Games are on track to be a disaster! Zika! Water pollution! Slow ticket sales! Ack! Danger, Will Robinson!

Or maybe, you know, not.

Usain Bolt on the medals stand Sunday night // Getty Images

Usain Bolt on the medals stand Sunday night // Getty Images

Track and field

U.S. No. 1 overall — in fast-changing world

BEIJING — With images of Jesse Owens and Luz Long on the big screens, Owens’ grand-daughter kicked off the final night of the 2015 track and field championships by presenting Usain Bolt his gold medal from the men’s 4×100 relay the night before.

This was, in a nutshell, the past and present of the sport. The future?

Ashton Eaton after crossing the finish line in the decathlon 1500 // Getty Images

Ashton Eaton after crossing the finish line in the decathlon 1500 // Getty Images

Track and field

A decathlon record but more U.S. relay woe

BEIJING — For this world championships year, 2015, the U.S. 4×100 men’s and women’s relay teams had one objective, and one objective only: get the stick around. Really. The trick was not to fall prey to the dropsies, oopsies and bumps in the night that have for far too long at major meets have plagued American entries.

With several young runners on the track and and the idea of using the 2015 worlds as an end unto itself but also a means of preparing for the 2016 Rio Olympics, the verdict Saturday: oops, again!