Hayward Field will eventually get its grand public unveiling, just not before members of the Oregon track and field team get to see it first.


In an open letter to track fans on Monday, coach Robert Johnson wrote that Hayward Field, which is nearing the end of its $200 million, two-year renovation, is "almost ready to welcome you back!"


First things first, however.


"Our athletes deserve to have their ‘Christmas morning’ moment before everyone else gets to see how magnificent their training areas and team facilities are," Johnson wrote. "After all, the team has been without a home for two years, and at this point, a majority of the athletes have never experienced the Hayward Magic competing as a Duck. My staff and I are truly looking forward to the team opening this incredible gift when they arrive on campus in September."


At least two notable alumni already have had access to Hayward Field.


Last week, Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen-Eaton, as well as their infant son and Eaton’s mom, were given a first-hand tour of the new facility to mark the eight-year anniversary of the when Eaton set the world record in the decathlon during the 2012 U.S.Olympic Track & Field Trials at Hayward Field.


"This is ..."#GoDucks #Eaton9039 pic.twitter.com/ZJy8AtTBxP

— oregontf (@OregonTF) June 24, 2020

Eaton and Theisen-Eaton both retired from the sport after the 2016 Olympics when Eaton won his second decathlon gold medal and Theisen-Eaton won bronze in the heptathlon for Canada.


"Last week, we were able to have a special Hayward moment with Ashton and Brianne along with their son Ander and Ashton’s mom, Roz," Johnson wrote. "It was a chance to have a smaller group together and celebrate what they have meant to this program. We hope to create similar moments with other Oregon Track and Field icons."


Recently, flags of 156 nations were raised outside of Hayward Field, representing every country that had a senior-level athlete compete at the old stadium between 1921-2018. Johnson wrote that although the track and field program has been given the keys to Hayward Field, construction is ongoing inside the stadium, which is why the fencing remains up.


"We also eagerly await the time when Governor Brown and state health officials are able to relax restrictions on large gatherings, which are currently in place through September," Johnson wrote. "If circumstances allow for opening the stadium to you in the fall, rest assured, we will do so but we have to make sure it is a safe and healthy experience for everyone."


Johnson also praised the adaptability and social awareness exhibited by his athletes during what has been an unprecedented year. The Ducks were on site at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championship meet in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in March when the coronavirus pandemic forced its cancellation. The cancellation of the outdoor season soon followed, as well as the closing of the Oregon campus.


This month been marked by a nationwide surge of social justice unrest and activism.


"I’ve been so impressed with our student-athletes and how they have responded to adversity over the last few months," Johnson wrote. "From adjusting to a new virtual academic environment and social distancing to using their voices to speak out on social injustices, I have been very proud."


Follow Chris Hansen on Twitter @chansen_RG or email at chansen@registerguard.com. For more sports coverage, visit registerguard.com. Want more stories like this? Subscribe to get unlimited access and support local journalism.