Chicago to host premier triathlon in 2014-15
By Stefano Esposito Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org June 7, 2013 2:06PM
Chicago resident Melissa Stockwell, 2013 USA Paratriathlon National champion, lost her left leg to a roadside bomb in Iraq while serving in active combat for the U.S. Army in 2004. | Stefano Esposito~Sun -Times
Updated: July 9, 2013 6:11AM
Like countless Chicagoans, Melissa Stockwell was “heartbroken” when Rio de Janeiro got the nod over her city in 2009 for the 2016 Olympics.
It might have been even more disappointing had Stockwell known that her sport, the paratriathlon, would make its Olympics debut in Rio. That announcement didn’t come until 2010.
But on Friday, a giddy Stockwell was delighted to be part of the team to announce the world’s premier triathlon and paratriathlon — besides the Olympics — is coming to Chicago in 2014 and 2015.
“As an athlete and a Chicago resident, I couldn’t be more thrilled to host these races,” Stockwell, 32, told reporters at Harry Caray’s restaurant downtown, where the announcement was made.
Stockwell, who lost most of her left leg to a roadside bomb while serving in the United States Army in Iraq in 2004, won her third consecutive TRI-2 world title last year in Auckland, New Zealand.
Chicago becomes only the third United States city to a host a World Triathlon Series race.
About 150 of the world’s fastest triathletes are expected to compete in the events, which include a 1,500-meter swim, a 40-kilometer bike ride and a 10-kilometer run, officials said.
The race course is expected to pass Navy Pier, Soldier Field, Millennium Park and Buckingham Fountain at the finish line.
The 2015 Grand Final is expected to draw about 5,000 amateur athletes, officials said.
“Chicago has the potential to tremendously increase the visibility of the sport, the event and certainly most deservedly, the athletes themselves,” said Chicago Deputy Mayor Steve Koch, who said the event is expected to generate about $9 million in economic benefits in its first year, and even more in 2015.
San Diego and Washington, D.C., have also hosted World Triathlon Series races.
To learn more about the ITU World Triathlon Chicago events, go to chicago.triathlon.org.