Houston has scored another first.
USA Track and Field CEO Doug Logan announced at a press conference in City Hall that the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials for the 2012 Olympic Games in London will be held in Houston Jan. 14, 2012. It will be the first time one city will host both the men's and women's marathon Olympic trials in a single year. (Houston hosted the women's trials in 1992. It will be our first time to host the men.)
Logan said Houston had offered a particularly aggressive bid to beat out finalists New York and Boston for the honor, although those cities bid for only the men's and women's races, respectively.
Mayor Annise Parker says she turned on the charm and "flirted shamelessly" to secure the trials (wish we had been in the room to see that).
Other factors: Houston's flat course (which resembles London's), the timing — Jan. 14 falls ideally in the training cycle — and our temperate winter weather. Logan also gave major kudos to the city's event-planning professionals, which he said are among the best in the world, and strong community support.
Parker declined to directly address the city's cost, saying it is important to put Houston on the national stage for sporting events and that the city would "make it work" in securing corporate sponsorships to cover most expenses.
The trials will take place one day before the 40th annual Houston marathon and will determine which athletes represent the United States at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
So far, 78 men and 58 women have qualified. The full guidelines for qualification can be found here.