Beginning in March of 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic caused the suspension or cancellation of numerous sports activities ranging from professional leagues to youth programs around the world. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics, originally scheduled for last summer, was pushed back 12 months and will now commence with the opening ceremonies this July 23 amid concerns Japan’s political and health leaders have not instituted effective measures to mitigate the spread of COVID.
The Armory New Balance Track and Field Center located in Washington Heights, one of the country’s foremost venues for hosting track and field events, including the venerable Millrose Games, had many empty days as its slate was profoundly altered by the pandemic. But on June 2, the Armory Foundation announced that it would be hosting a record 117 meets for its 2021-’22 indoor season starting this fall.
“The Armory is delighted to announce a track season with more events than any season in the history of the building,” said Armory Foundation Co-President Rita Finkel in a written statement. “With running commencing here as long ago as 1914, we are eager to welcome back all of our athletes and fans to the ‘Fastest Track in the World’ for a season of new records.”
Among the showcase events will be The Armory Trials for high school upperclassmen, offering scholastic juniors and seniors an opportunity to enhance their profiles for college recruiters. The competitive Columbia & NewYork-Presbyterian Indoor Marathon. The Marine Corps Holiday Classic. The popular U.S. Air Force Hispanic Games.
The highly anticipated and electric Historically Black Colleges & Universities Showcase. The PSAL Martin Luther King Jr. Relays. The Dr. Sander Invitational Columbia Challenge, named in honor of the late, legendary distance runner, Dr. Norbert Sander, the man widely credited with spearheading the revitalization of The Armory over two decades ago.
The New Balance Nationals Indoors, a meet that regularly sees multiple national records established, and provides an early glimpse of some of the sport’s future NCAA and Olympic champions. And the return of the Millrose Games, which was temporarily halted last January.
Before the fall schedule kicks off and the Summer Olympics commands the attention of track and field’s ardent fanbase, Randall’s Island will be the site of several USA Track and Field meets, including this weekend’s USATF Youth Track and Field Championships.