St. Louis Going After 2020 Olympic Swim Trials

By Parrish Walton, February 13, 2015

St. Louis wants more Olympic events, and it’s going after the 2020 Olympic swim trials in a bid centered around using the Edward Jones Dome. The St. Louis Rams, the dome’s most famous tenant, have been linked to a potential move to Los Angeles, but that isn’t stopping the St. Louis Sports Commission from filling the facility with business.

St. Louis finished second to Omaha, Nebraska, for the 2016 trials, something commission President Frank Viverito hopes will help the city moving forward with the 2020 bid.

“The setup in Omaha mirrors what we have,” Viverito told the St. Louis Dispatch. “The only difference is an arena opposed to a dome. If they’re looking for the same setup in a more spacious, versatile venue, then St. Louis would be perfect.”

The bid would require setting up two Olympic-size pools—with one potentially being in the adjacent convention center—with the pools requiring 660,000 gallons of water each. The cost to host the event hasn’t been made public, but the rewards could be well worth it as more than 200,000 fans are expected to attend.

Omaha has become one of the key players within the USA Swimming community, so it makes sense to model a bid off of what it can do, but as Viverito said, the Dome is much larger than an arena. The eight-day competition is one St. Louis wants due to the event’s scope.

“It’s on such a grand scale and gets so much national attention,” Viverito says. “It hits all the targets. It’s men’s and women’s competition. It’s a dream event for us. It’s the biggest Olympic event we could produce.”

The event would be a feather in the cap of the commission, but it’s not the only major event coming to the city.

St. Louis will host the 2016 men’s gymnastics trials at Chaifetz Arena, which will coincide with the women’s national championship meet, the P&G Championships. The commission is in the process of determining whether or not to bid on the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, an event with plenty of cache as it will be televised by NBC.

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