FAYETTEVILLE, Ark., Jan. 5, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The University of Arkansas men's and women's track and field teams will begin the 2011 NCAA indoor season with a home meet on Friday, on a newly refurbished track that boasts an impressive history. The surface at the Randal Tyson Track Center is the same Super X track built by Mondo, the world's sports flooring leader, for the 1993 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Toronto - a track that is still widely regarded as the fastest indoor track ever built.
The world's top track for more than 30 years, Mondo Super X Performance has been installed at more than 1,100 venues globally. Recognized around the world as the fastest, most durable and environmentally safest track available, it has been used in the past nine Olympic Games, and Mondo is the official supplier to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Following the 1993 IAAF meet, the Mondo Super X track was disassembled and then stored it until the Arkansas athletic department purchased the track and brought it to Fayetteville in 1999. The Division I university has used the famed running surface for its indoor program ever since.
Thanks largely to the track's outstanding reputation, Arkansas has hosted the NCAA Division I indoor track and field championships 11 times in the 12-year history of the Tyson Center, including the 2010 championships last March. But because the Tyson Center is a multipurpose facility, the track is assembled at the beginning of each season and dismantled and stored afterward.
In 2007, university officials recognized that after eight years of use- particularly the wear and tear caused by disassembly and storage each year - the 200-meter track would need to be refurbished, but they wanted to be absolutely certain that any work performed on the surface would not diminish the track's renowned performance characteristics. "We knew this project would send a message throughout the nation that we're doing everything we can to keep our building and our program at the forefront of the track and field world," said Justin Maland, University of Arkansas' assistant athletic director for facilities.
Arkansas also decided that once it was refurbished, the track would become a semi-permanent structure; it could be removed if necessary, but otherwise university officials now intend to leave it in place throughout the year.
"The track's reputation as one of the fastest indoor tracks in the world was at the forefront of our decision to revitalize it instead of installing a new one," Maland said. "But we needed to ensure that any improvements we made kept the track's integrity intact. The track has such a history and such a strong reputation that we felt like it was in the best interest of NCAA track and field and Arkansas track and field."
For nearly three years, Mondo engineers carefully studied the track and formulated a plan to rebuild it in a way that would keep its remarkable performance characteristics intact. One of the keys to the revitalization was replacing the clamps used to hold the sections of track together. The original clamps were made by Mondo in Europe in the mid-1990s but are no longer in production today. So Mondo representatives borrowed a few of the clamps from the Tyson Center track and sent them to the company's fabricator in Europe, where 1,800 new, matching clamps were specially produced for the job.
Construction began in September 2010 and was completed on schedule in December, ensuring the track would be ready for the season-opening Jan. 7 Razorback Triangular meet.
"Throughout the process, Mondo has been very professional and very customer oriented," Maland said. "They were very concerned about the track and, at the same time, about how we were going to perceive the end product. They wanted to do whatever was in our best interest and the best interest of the track."
About the University of Arkansas
Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville is both the major land-grant university for Arkansas and the leading state research university with an enrollment of more than 21,000 students. The school has a rich tradition of cross country and track and field success: Arkansas' men's teams have won 40 NCAA national titles with 19 coming in Indoor Track and Field and has had 50 NCAA individual event champions since 1985. During the outdoor season, the Razorbacks practice and compete on an IAAF-certified Mondotrack.
Mondo is the global leader in the sports and contract flooring markets, manufacturing flooring surfaces for virtually every application. More than 1,100 Mondo tracks and 800 Mondo artificial turf fields are installed worldwide. The official supplier of the athletic track for the past nine Olympic Games and the upcoming 2012 London Olympics, Mondo also is the official supplier or official sponsor of more than 100 sports federations and associations.
The company supplies a wide variety of commercial flooring, and it is the world's largest producer of sports and toy balls with an average daily production of 450,000 units. In addition, it manufactures large luxury yachts under its Mondo Marine division.
A family-owned business since its founding in 1948, Mondo sells its products in more than 196 countries. The company's global headquarters are in Italy, and it has manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe and Asia. More information about Mondo is available at www.mondoworldwide.com.
The Mondo logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=5765
Mondo is a registered trademark of Mondo.
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