U.S. Olympic rowing trials coming to Sarasota County
SARASOTA COUNTY – Nathan Benderson Park will be the site of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for rowing, a qualifying event for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, USRowing officials announced Friday.
Glen Merry, CEO of USRowing, broke the news from the finish line of the 2015 Youth National Championships, being held this weekend at Nathan Benderson Park.
|Officials announce the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for rowing are coming to Nathan Benderson Park. From left: Sarasota County Commission Chair Carolyn Mason; Nathan Benderson Foundation Chief Fundraiser
Joe Barbetta; USRowing CEO Glenn Merry; Sarasota County Administrator Tom Harmer; Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Director Carolyn Brown; Florida Sports Foundation President John Webb; Manatee County Commissioner John Chappie; and Paul Blackketter, SANCA chief operating officer.
The trials are scheduled to take place April 18-24, 2016, bringing Olympic hopefuls from all over the country to Sarasota County.
“This is another great honor for Sarasota County and the entire region,” said Sarasota County Commission Chair Carolyn Mason. “Having Olympic competitors here will only add to our growing reputation as an international sports destination.”
Seven Olympic-class rowing events will be contested during the week-long regatta, including the men’s and women’s single sculls, men’s and women’s double sculls, lightweight men’s and women’s double sculls and men’s quadruple sculls.
Since it opened last June, the park has also become a popular place for locals and visitors to walk, run, paddle and cycle.The park has been recognized as “Venue of the Year” by the Florida Sports Commission and “The Best Race Course in North America” by Rowing Magazine, and Sarasota County won an Alliance for Innovation Award for the project.
“It’s amazing to think about how this site started as a borrow pit and became the beautiful park and world-class facility it is today,” said County Administrator Tom Harmer. “It wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the community, especially from our Board of County Commissioners, and from the many Sarasota County employees who worked hard to complete this project.”
The Sarasota County park, which is managed by the not-for-profit Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Inc. (SANCA), hosted nearly 50 events in 2014, including rowing competitions, 5K runs and dragon boat races. It drew more than 50,000 athletes and spectators last year and had an economic impact of more than $12 million.
For more information, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000 or visit www.scgov.net.