© Copyright – 2023 – Athletics Illustrated
American journalist and author Ambrose Bierce once wrote, “War is god’s way of teaching Americans geography.”
War was never waged in Eugene, Oregon nor Gainesville, Florida.
So, it goes without saying that Gainesville native Noah Lyles, the sometimes purveyor of disjunctive questions and sprinter, has asked the universe, “Where the hell is Eugene?” The question, of course, is in reference to Eugene, Oregon, the home of Hayward Field where the 2022 World Athletics Championships took place. It is also home to the Diamond League finalé this weekend — in case readers are also interested in knowing where Eugene is located.
Eugene’s latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates are 44.052071 and 123.086754.
“I love the U.S… but that ain’t the world!” ❌— Eurosport (@eurosport) August 27, 2023
Noah Lyles throws shade at the NBA’s ‘world champions’ 🏀👀 pic.twitter.com/BRCJagckcK
Eugene Skinner settled the city of Eugene in the year 1846. Oregonian marketing explains that Eugene is located in the seat of Lane County in western Oregon. The city takes up a land area total of 72 square kilometres or 43.74 square miles.
Known as The Emerald City located in the Emerald Valley, it is famous for being near the home of Bill Bowerman, the co-creator of Nike Corporation located in Portland, OR, just 167 kilometres or 104 miles north on i5. Several international runners have lived in Eugene including Bill Dellinger, Kenny Moore, Alberto Salazar (Coach), and Steve Prefontaine among others.
One could also ask, “Where the hell is Beaverton?”
As it stands, war has also not been waged in Beaverton.
Beaverton, OR is located within the sprawl of Portland on the southwest side. It is home to Nike Corporation, the largest sports apparel company in the world. Nike sponsors the Prefontaine Classic, a Diamond League meet, which takes place in Eugene at Hayward Field. “Field” is a misnomer. It is a world-class stadium and was funded by Nike.
Lyles, an adidas-sponsored athlete will be competing in the Prefontaine Classic this weekend in Eugene.
Twenty-six-year-old, six-time world champion Lyles won three gold medals during the 2023 Budapest World Athletics Championships in the 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m Relays. He was a teen prodigy, who bettered some of Usain Bolt’s teenage sprint performances. Lyles earned a bronze medal during the 2020 (2021) Tokyo Olympic Games.
As it turns out, war was indeed waged in Budapest. The infamous Siege of Budapest was a 50-day encirclement by Soviet and Romanian forces of the Hungarian capital near the end of World War II. Everyone knows where Budapest is.
Lyles recently came under fire from National Basketball Association (NBA) players for saying that he disagreed with the NBA league championships referring to itself as a world championships. He is correct, it is not a world championship. During the social media melee that ensued, the FIBA Basketball World Cup was taking place and the US — stacked with NBA players — was knocked out of the gold medal game by Germany, then subsequently knocked out of the medals by Canada — the country of origin of the game.
Lyles’ hometown of Gainesville is where Gatorade was invented.
Of course, Lyles was being facetious and rhetorical when he asked where the hell Eugene is. He was implying, if you will, that the Diamond League finalé, should be hosted in a major US city, perhaps like Los Angeles or New York or Gainesville.
North Carolina native Kevin Williamson, the creator of the horror Scream franchise, and a Gainesville visitor didn’t have to ask where the hell Gainesville is…. “I was watching this Barbara Walters special on the Gainesville (Florida) murders, … And I was getting so spooked. I was being scared out of my mind. During the commercial break, I heard a noise. And I had to go search the house. And I went into the living room and a window was open. And I’d been in this house for two days. I’d never noticed the window open. So I got really scared. So I went to the kitchen, got a butcher knife, got the mobile phone. I called a buddy of mine and watched Noah Lyles win his third gold medal in Budapest.”