Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce says USA Track & Field has awarded the bids for the USA Youth Outdoor Track & Field Championships, to be held in July 2011, and USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships, to be held in December 2011, to Myrtle Beach.
The chamber says this is the first time that a host city has been awarded two youth championships in the same year.
The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce/Convention and Visitors Bureau staff, former Olympians, city officials and others traveled to Indianapolis Dec. 3-5 to make a final pitch for the sporting events. Each event is expected to attract between 2,500 and 5,000 youth competitors between the ages of 7 and 18, plus their families.
The chamber says a diverse mix of community representatives (Local Organizing Committee) attended the USATF Annual Meeting, where finalists gave 15-minute presentations highlighting the facilities, accommodations and amenities and then responded to any questions. Myrtle Beach was short-listed with Greensboro, N.C., for the track and field event and with Richmond, Va., and Lexington, Ky., for the cross country event. The representatives of the Local Organizing Committee were:
- Roy Edmondson - CVB sports sales manager and chair, local organizing committee
- Danna Lilly - CVB representative
- John Pederson - facility representative, Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium and Whispering Pines Golf Course
- Vince Peeples - Myrtle Beach High School cross country coach
- Lynette Watkins - Myrtle Beach Track Club liaison
Amber Campbell - 2008 USA Olympic trials silver medalist; 2007, 2008 and 2009 USA indoor champion; 2005 and 2006 USA indoor runner-up; 2004 USA indoor bronze medalist; 2004 USA Olympic trials bronze medalist; and Coastal Carolina University graduate and volunteer assistant coach for throwers; Indianapolis native
Zola Budd Pieterse - Former Olympian competing for Great Britain in the 1984 Los Angeles Games and for South Africa in the 1992 Barcelona Games; broke the world record in women's 5,000 meters twice; won the women's World Cross Country Championships twice; set world records in the indoor 3,000 meters and outdoor 2,000 and 3,000 meters; and lives in Myrtle Beach on a two-year visa while competing on the U.S. Masters circuit and acting as a volunteer assistant track and field coach for Coastal Carolina University
- Councilman Mike Chestnut - city of Myrtle Beach
- Brian McCue - President of the South Carolina USATF Association
- Linda Ellis - Secretary of the USATF National Youth Committee
"We put together a dynamic team, including celebrity athletes, to show that Myrtle Beach deserves to play host to these championships," said Brad Dean, MBACC president and CEO. "With the improvements to Doug Shaw Stadium, Myrtle Beach is now positioned for national sporting events that will draw youth and adult competitors, families and spectators, adding to Myrtle Beach's arsenal of sports tourism."
Representatives pitched Whispering Pines Golf Course for the cross country event and Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium for the track and field event. The stadium, jointly owned by the city of Myrtle Beach and Horry County, recently underwent $4 million in improvements including track upgrades and expansion from six to eight lanes, state-of-the-art video scoreboard and upgraded stands, lighting and press box.
"The most important element of the pitch is the facilities," said Danna Lilly, CMP, CVB director of sales. "Our beaches and attractions make a perfect backdrop, but without the appropriate venue, we wouldn't have won the bids."
For more information on USA Track & Field, visit www.USATF.org.