Eugene / by Bill Frakes


Eugene is one of my favorite towns. It is easily the best place to watch Track and Field in the United States. Large, enthusiastic and knowledgeable crowds for every event. Wonderful.

On years when the Olympics are held, there's a special excitement and tension at the track.

For our SI coverage this year, we wanted to give audiences a behind the scenes experience as well. Everyone wants to see the finish line photos of course, and we have those, but the stories behind the races and at the stadium are part of what make this event so special. Our coverage of this year’s events is featured in stories online, in the magazine and on the iPad edition, with galleries and in the leading offs.

When Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh tied in the 100 meter race, we created a video of Roger Jennings, head photo finish evaluator, describing what he looks for in the photos and how he makes the call.

Outside the track, the legacy and career of Steve Prefontaine continues to impact new generations of runners and track enthusiasts. With the beautiful words of our friend and SI writer Tim Layden, Laura and I created a short video "An Hour at Pre's Rock." The video was shot as stills using the iPhone and put together with the new Aperture 3.3 to show the emotional pilgrimage people make to his memorial.

Best thing about the Olympic Trials, is undoubtedly the people. We always celebrate Laura’s birthday in Eugene, and I relish the time catching up with friends like Mark Kettenhoffen, Brien Aho, Chris Pietch, Brian Davies, Thomas Boyd, and so many others.
Before leaving Portland for seven hours of flying diagonally across the USA, the last person I spoke to before taking off was SI senior writer Tim Layden.  When Laura and I landed we headed up the jet bridge, I heard Tim's voice and there on the television monitor right above the gate was Tim talking on CNN's air about the story we worked with him on the past few days. Then not 30 seconds later, we ran into a couple in the airport concourse we photographed for another story that we worked on with Tim last week. Surreal.