Omaha could once again be a city that hosts Olympic competitors.
The Omaha Athletic Commission and the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority plan to bid to bring the 2024 men’s and women’s gymnastics trials to Omaha.
If delegated to Omaha, the event would represent the return of a major Olympic qualifier to the city following USA Swimming’s decision to hold the 2024 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in Indianapolis. The move was a blow to Omaha, which has hosted the last four swim trials.
“We at the Omaha Athletic Commission will continue to position ourselves to ideally host events that enhance the city of Omaha,” said Kyle Peterson, chairman of the Omaha Athletic Commission.
Omaha’s bid will compete with a bid from the St. Louis Athletic Commission, which saw a record crowd of 20,815 on the final night of the 2021 Gymnastics Trials, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. .
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St. Louis also hosted the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for men’s gymnastics, the 2016 U.S. Women’s National Championships, and the 2000 and 2012 U.S. Championships for men’s and women’s gymnastics.
It’s unclear if other cities have thrown their hats in to host in 2024. A decision is expected in early 2023.
Omaha has its own track record for turning Olympic trials into blockbuster events.
Omaha Trials attendance records were set in 2008, 2012 and 2016 before pandemic restrictions not only delayed 2020 Trials by a year, but also capped capacity at 63% in Wave Trials I and wave II in June 2021.
Even at limited capacity, the 12 days of competition attracted over 122,000 spectators.
A report produced by the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau found that Waves I and II in 2021 brought $34.5 million in economic impact to the city and state over a period of more than two weeks.
The CHI Health Center in Omaha, which hosted the swim trials, offers a few amenities that set it apart from other venues, said MECA spokeswoman Kristyna Engdahl.
The CHI Health Center has a capacity of over 18,000 people and an adjoining convention center. It’s also close to the airport and several hotels, Engdahl noted.
“I think we have demonstrated here through our operations and the continued harvest of great volunteers who show up to make these events possible, that Omaha and the CHI Health Center could be a very good fit for an event of this caliber,” Engdahl said. .
Since 2003, the Omaha Sports Commission has worked to recruit and promote amateur sporting events in Omaha. Much of the commission’s time had been spent on the Olympic swimming trials, which have become a major sporting and tourist event since his induction.
The commission has had an economic impact of $373 million since 2008, according to the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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