Women's 4x400m relay in Beijing ()Women's 4x400m relay in Beijing () © Copyright

Strike a Pose, Portland

Just throwing it out there: the 2016 Portland World Indoor Champs will be the best ever. Here’s why.

All Eyes To The Sky

The year may only be two months old, but the pole vault is already shaping into one of the most exciting events to follow. We’ve seen world U18, U20 and senior records on the women’s side, the boys' world U18 best was bettered twice within a week by two different guys and both the reigning world champion, Shawn Barber, and Olympic champion, Renaud Lavillenie, have vaulted over six metres.

To celebrate in style, Portland will give these high-flying guys and gals the stage they deserve and hold the pole vault on the opening night (17th) as a stand-alone competition right after the official opening ceremony.

Pole vaulter Luke Cutts during the British Indoor Champs 2016 ()

Fly Your Flag

As part of the opening ceremony, children from Playworks, a non-profit organisation in the greater Portland area, will carry numerous hand flags of each participating nation into the arena and distribute them to spectators. Of course you don’t have to limit your cheers to your own nation, we heavily encourage all forms of fan-attire, so please bring flags, face paint, foam fingers, whatever floats your boat really.

Grand Entrances

The way relay teams entered the track at the World Relays and the Beijing world champs was one of the highlights for many track fans in 2015 – heck, “the subtle differences between the US and UK summed up in 6 seconds” went viral around the globe.

Portland is taking things to the next level: this time round EVERY field finalist and ALL participants in track semis and finals will get the grand entrance they deserve. And they won’t enter the arena through granny’s old curtain; we’re talking lights, special effects, music, even CO2 fog!

Dear athletes, start practicing your poses. Dear fans, send us your #PortlandPose, because we want to see more of this!

Lights, Camera, Action

Ok, we mentioned lights during entrances, but the presentation guys are taking it one step further. The entire arena will be equipped with show lights only. The champs will be broadcast across the globe, so TV audiences worldwide are guaranteed great pictures in their living rooms. But the spectators in the arena will be the ones experiencing the full force of the new feature. Through the set-up, focus can be moved on specific events while nothing else is going on, e.g. the 60m finals.

Prepare yourselves for effects and colours that would put Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road to shame.

World Indoor Championships 2016 Entrance Rendering ()

Pioneer Party Square

Although all of the athletics action is taking place inside the Oregon Convention Center (it’s the world INDOOR champs after all), Downtown Portland will be hosting its own version of athletics fun. In Pioneer Courthouse Square, right at the heart of Portland, a huge track and field party is taking place over the course of the entire championships.

Not only will fans be able to enjoy music, food and a live stream of the action 1.5 miles down the road from OCC, but they’ll also be able to get up close with the athletes themselves. After the end of competition each night (from day 2 onwards), all medalists receive their medals in front of a huge crowd at PCS. It means athletes will celebrate inside the arena with flowers and a lap of honour as well as outside the venue with even more fans. Call it the best of both worlds.

For medal ceremony dates and times head this way.