UPDATE: 2024 Olympic Swim Trials officially leaving Omaha
Event headed to Indianapolis
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The 2024 Olympic Swim Trials will not be held in Omaha and are heading to Indianapolis.
The official announcement came at 9 a.m. as the mayor of Indianapolis announced the Swim Trials for 2024, slated for June, will be located in his city.
Omaha has been home to the last four Olympic Swim Trials. Omaha was bidding for the 2024 swim trials against three larger cities — all with domed venues.
A press release from the Omaha Sports Commission quickly followed the official announcement Tuesday morning:
“The Omaha Sports Commission has enjoyed a great relationship with USA Swimming over the past sixteen years, having hosted the last four US Olympic Swim Trials, and we congratulate the city of Indianapolis on their award. While we are disappointed with the news this morning regarding the 2024 Olympic Swim Trials we are proud of the growth the Trials experienced while in Omaha. We have watched over 180 Olympians realize their dreams on the pool deck in Omaha, Nebraska and the Omaha Sports Commission will continue to strategically search for distinctive events that promote sports and continue to shine the spotlight on our city.”
Omaha first hosted the eight-day Olympic Swim Trials in 2008, and even managed its way through moving the 2020 trials back a year due to the COVID pandemic.
Indianapolis hosted the venue four times before Omaha got into the game.
Indianapolis will hold the trials at Lucas Oil Stadium and can more than double the attendance at Omaha.
Deb Ward, Executive Director of Visit Omaha told Channel 6 News Monday that it’s disappointing but not a surprise the event is leaving.
“We can kind of understand that organizers at USA Swimming may want to move the event to a larger city in hopes of attracting an even larger audience,” she said. “Having the US Olympic swim trials here in Omaha is even more proof that Omaha on a national stage can does and can have the ability to host these large sporting events and make them even more successful than they were before.”
Ward said Omaha’s four-term run was highly successful.
“Even through COVID and when they canceled 2020 and put it into 2021,and then instead of over one week it was over two sessions, everybody really rallied together and made that work,” she said.
The swim trials bring a lot of money into Omaha every four years, as much as $74 million in 2016 when the venue sold out for the first time ever.
Ann Mellen, who runs M’s Pub in the Old Market, said local businesses will feel an impact.
“Monetarily it was huge for us,” she said. “They brought as well as the participants, the whole families came and coaches and other people to support them and they were really great people, really friendly, fun, excited... They loved Omaha, so I’m sad they’re not coming, but maybe they’ll come back.”
Ward said the city is looking forward and moving to attract other venues.
“We’ve proven on a national stage that we have the ability to host these large sports events, and our team and our tourism partners continue to go after a wide variety of amateur, college, and youth sporting events,” she said.
Omaha was bidding for the 2024 swim trials against Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Minneapolis.
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