EDMONTON — Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson says he’s hopeful the city’s showing as host of the 2014 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final will bring more international events to the city.
“There’s a lot of influential people here who decide where there events and other events go – they’re tied in with the International Olympic Committee, the Commonwealth Games Federation – so it’s always good when we put on a show, and we always put on a great show here in Edmonton,” he said Saturday.
Edmonton is in the international spotlight this weekend as elite athletes from around the world compete in the event.
Athletes started with a 1.5 kilometre swim at Hawrelak Park. Then they hopped on their bikes for a gruelling 43-kilometre ride through Edmonton’s River Valley. They finished off the race with a 10-kilometre run.
Watching on, Iveson says he’s absolutely amazed by the athleticism and talent of the competitors.
“They did this whole race is just over two hours, I’d probably still be in the lake. They’d be fishing me out at this point,” he said. “I was absolutely inspired and blown away by these athletes.”
So far, Iveson says he’s heard nothing but positive feedback from event organizers. He hopes the good reviews help as Edmonton continues its push for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. He also believes it will help with the city’s strategy to become “a summer sports centre of excellence in western Canada.”
“I’d love to see us be a triathlon hub,” he said. “I’d like to see if we can work with the International Triathlon Union to keep this event coming regularly to Edmonton. We’d be thrilled to continue hosting it.
“Having a strong result here and a well run event and a safe event with positive experience for the athletes, that always helps put the word out that Edmonton is a solid host. And that certainly helps attracting events up to and including Commonwealth Games.”
American Gwen Jorgensen rocketed through the run to finish first and easily capture the overall series championship. Edmonton’s Paula Findlay finished 15th, but was tops in the mayor’s books; Iveson couldn’t help but take a selfie with Findlay as she passed by him following the race.
— Don Iveson (@doniveson) August 30, 2014
Edmonton is playing host to more than 3,000 athletes this weekend.
The corporate Try-A-Tri and Corporate Sprint Relay races are being held Sunday morning at 8 a.m. Edmonton Oilers captain Andrew Ference and coach Dallas Eakins will be competing alongside Olympic medallists Simon Whitfield and Beckie Scott. Iveson will also be among the 200 people competing Sunday morning.
The men’s elite race goes Sunday in Hawrelak Park.
© Shaw Media, 2014