Widgets Magazine
  • Huge news: OKC may host Summer Olympic events

    The Los Angeles 2028 Organizing Committee is considering moving the Games' canoe slalom events to the Riversport Rapids Whitewater Center in Oklahoma City.

    Riversport Rapids was built south of downtown along the Oklahoma River as part of the sales-tax-funded MAPS 3 initiative and has seen several improvements since opening in 2019. It is an established site for the sport and is selected as the host for the International Canoe Federation (ICF) World Canoe Slalom Championships in 2026. It has also hosted the ICF Canoe Sprint Super Cup in 2021 and 2022.

    The neighboring OKC National High Performance Center is an official U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site and as such provides coaching, training facilities, and financial support for elite American rowing, kayak, and canoe athletes.

    Now, according to a recent report from the ICF, Oklahoma has an excellent chance to host at least six events as part of the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games.

    Due to the expense of hosting the Olympics, the International Olympic Committee voted in 2019 to allow multi-city and multi-country bids to help defray costs. As a result, the 2026 Winter Olympics will be split between Milan and Cortina d'Apezzo in Italy. Surfing at the 2024 Paris Games will be held in Tahiti.

    Although Los Angeles has hosted the Summer Games as recently as 1984 and they will be making use of multiple existing stadiums and arenas, the LA28 committee is still expecting to spend nearly $7 billion to host in 2028. The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro was reported to have experienced a net loss of over $2 billion.

    California does not have an existing whitewater facility and the preliminary plan was to build an estimated $100 million temporary site in order to accommodate the canoe slalom events (previously known as whitewater slalom) that have been part of the Games since 1972.

    According to the ICF, only two cities in the U.S. have existing facilities that would meet the necessary standards: Oklahoma City and Charlotte, North Carolina.

    In a report last fall, the ICF specifically mentioned Oklahoma as a likely candidate to host canoe slalom, although an official announcement has yet to be made.

    The 2028 Summer Games are scheduled for July 14-30 and the Paralympics for August 15-27.

    The six slalom events are split equally between men and women with approximately 100 competing athletes. Europeans have traditionally dominated the sport but in recent years other countries have become more competitive. There is also the possibility Oklahoma City could host river-based Olympic sports such as rowing.

    The Olympic spotlight would bring unprecedented international exposure to Oklahoma City and the state and bring a significant, direct economic impact.

    In addition to the delegation of athletes, coaches, and officials, there would also be a large international media presence along with fans from all over the world.

    For the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, stands were erected to accommodate 7,500 fans at their whitewater facility. In 2024, the Paris venue will accommodate 12,000.

    Tokyo Whitewater Facility

    To date, only 3 U.S. Cities have hosted Summer Games: St. Louis in 1904, Los Angeles in 1932 and 1984, and Atlanta in 1996.

    Cities typically need years to prepare for the Olympics. As part of the recent upgrades and expansion at Will Rogers Airport, a new customs area was added for international flights but there would be countless additional logistical considerations.

    Final decisions on the entire sports program and associated venues for the 2028 Summer Olympic Games will be announced by the end of the year.

    What is Canoe Slalom?
    Canoe slalom features competitors navigating a whitewater course - up to 300 meters in length - by passing through a maximum 25 gates in as quick a time as possible.

    There are boats of two types: kayaks with the athletes seated and employing a double-bladed paddle; and canoes, where the athlete is strapped into the boat in a kneeling position using a single-blade paddle.

    New for Paris 2024 is extreme kayak where four athletes race against each other on a shortened course, rather than racing a clock.

Single Sign On provided by vBSSO