The city of Cleveland will play host to the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships in both 2018 and 2019. Nearly 6,000 athletes nationwide are expected to compete in both an Olympic-distance qualifier and a sprint triathlon on August 11-12, 2018.
David Gilbert, CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, announced the news at a press conference at Edgewater Park Wednesday morning. Alongside him were Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Metroparks' CEO Brian Zimmerman, and USA Triathlon's Rob Urbach.
Gilbert said the annual event would infuse nearly $6.5 million of direct spending into the local economy. (Scene is loathe to honor estimates like these, but it's true that many high-caliber athletes and their families will be in town for the competition.)
The city, as is customary, will bend over
Sam Allard / Scene
The press tent, with Cleveland's skyline in the background.
backwards to show them a good time.
"We pride ourselves on making your event successful," said Mayor Jackson, in his brief remarks. "Our job and our commitment and our purpose is to ensure that you will have a successful event, and that you will be able to say that Cleveland was the best event to that point. That's what our commitment is."
Gilbert echoed those comments and celebrated the work of his colleagues at the Sports Commission who'd worked aggressively to secure the Triathlon.
"Something like this doesn't just happen by accident," he said. "USA Triathlon doesn't throw a dart at a map, and it lands on Cleveland, and that's where it's going to go. There's a tremendous amount of time and energy that goes into the competition that is part of having an event like this... This is not an event for us. This is a source of pride. Our goal was not to get this event to Cleveland. Our goal was that when you leave, you are going to be telling us that this was the best Nationals you've ever had."
The sun was shining and the air was crisp at Edgewater, and USA Triathlon's Rob Urbach said he felt confident his organization made the right decision.
"I'm tempted to go jump in the lake right now," he joked, "but I hear it's only 48 degrees."
A triathlon is a three-sport race that includes swimming, biking and running. The general parameters of the Cleveland route have been planned — the swimming portion will take place in Lake Erie, for instance — but the map has not been finalized.
Mickey Rzymek of Stow's North Coast Multisports helped design the route and said it was important to have a "single bike loop" for the event. Given Urbach's lauding the city for "closing a main thoroughfare" and comments about "newly paved streets," the West Shoreway Boulevard will likely figure into the final map. The Shoreway project is expected to be completed in 2018
The $4.5 million Edgewater Beach House will also be in full operation by next summer.
Gilbert said not only Detroit-Shoreway but the neighborhoods of St. Clair-Superior and University Circle would be highlighted as well, presumably in the Olympic-distance event, which includes a 40-km bike ride and a 10-km run. Winners in that event will qualify for Team USA.