Three track and field legends: sprint hurdler Joanna Hayes, sprinter Ato Boldon and multi-eventer Jackie Joyner-Kersee are IAAF Ambassadors for this summer's Oregon 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships. They tell us what it means to be an ambassador, how they will advise young athletes, and why TrackTown will be such a special host.

Being an ambassador

Joanna Hayes: “To be part of such an important event is a humbling experience for me. To witness first hand the future stars of our sport is very exciting for me.“

Ato Boldon: “World juniors will always be a special meet for me because I won my first two world titles there [Boldon became 1992 world junior champion over 100m and 200m], and it signalled to me that I could be a world-class sprinter.

“My job as a broadcaster now requires that I know 'what's next', and this meet always gives me a very clear view of the future stars of athletics.“

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:I take great pride being able to represent the IAAF as an Ambassador for the World Junior Championship this summer. Many thanks to USATF and the IAAF for bringing this event to the United States.“

The nitty gritty

JH: “Winning is not the most important part of competition. It's important to compete with sportsmanship and respect for the athletes from all cultures and countries. This is just the beginning of what could be your future in the sport of athletics, the friendships and connections you make can last a lifetime.

“Work hard to be the best and respect everyone's right to a fair and clean competition. When you compete and win clean no one can ever take anything from you. You will always be able to look in the mirror and be proud of how you won, knowing that you did it the right way.” 

Ato Boldon 1996 ()

Frankie Fredericks, Michael Johnson and Ato Boldon collect 200m medals at the 1996 Olympics.

AB: “You are an ambassador for your country when you compete on a global stage: act accordingly. Look at the examples of those from prior generations who have ruined their legacy by doping, and heed that lesson.

“Friends that I made at the world juniors in 1992 are all friends to this day, so the friendships have endured. Enjoy it, it will be over before you know it.” 

TrackTown USA

JH: “I expect the atmosphere in Eugene to be energetic and lively. Eugene will live up to its well-earned name of TrackTown USA. The fans are knowledgeable and excited about our sport, they will support and cheer for the athletes from every country.”

AB: “There is no better place for track and field in America than Eugene. The atmosphere will be what it always is - raucous and passionate, with the most knowledgeable fans in the USA.”

JJK: “Eugene is an amazing place to compete. The fans will embrace all the athletes and the excitement from the crowd will elevate the performances to personal bests or season bests.”