Tuesday, August 08, 2006

USA International Rowing World Challenge

Edited note on 10/17/07: See this article for the 2007 Centennial Regatta.

Speaking of the Oklahoma River (aka the North Canadian River), Oklahoma City will host the October 2007 USA International Rowing World Challenge. Here's the story, from row2knews:
Oklahoma City to Host USA International Rowing World Challenge
August 8, 2006

The U.S. Olympic Committee, in partnership with USRowing and the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO), has secured an international rowing competition in Oklahoma City for October 2007, the organization announced today.

The USA Rowing World Challenge will showcase top international rowing talent from the most competitive teams in the world as they prepare for the 2008 Olympic Games. The event is expected to attract more than 150 international athletes and 50,000 spectators to Oklahoma City for the 10-day event.

The University of Central Oklahoma is the U.S. Olympic Committee's Community Partner in Oklahoma. UCO, the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation and the Chesapeake Boathouse will form the local organizing committee for the upcoming event.

"We're excited about partnering with UCO and USRowing in attaining this international rowing competition next fall," said Jim Scherr, USOC Chief Executive Officer. "We're just two years away from the start of the 2008 Olympic Games, so it's important to provide our athletes with high-level competition in preparation for Beijing and for the U.S. to host world-class events such as this. UCO, Oklahoma City and the Chesapeake Boathouse will be ideal hosts for the world's best rowers."

The USA Rowing World Challenge will be an official Oklahoma Centennial Event and will be headquartered at Oklahoma City's new $3.5 million Chesapeake Boathouse with racing on the newly developed Oklahoma River championship rowing course. The boathouse is home to two collegiate programs, Oklahoma City University's varsity crew and the University of Oklahoma club crew.

"We're inviting the top national teams from around the world to compete in Oklahoma City," USRowing Executive Director Glenn Merry said. "It's a preview of what you'll see in the 2008 Olympics in China."

The USA Rowing World Challenge will open with exhibitions by the international teams at the Head of the Oklahoma Regatta presented by Oklahoma City University October 6-7. The international teams will then spend the next week training on the Oklahoma River.

"The Oklahoma River offers an excellent venue for intense training, and it's a unique opportunity for these teams to size up their international competition going into the 2008 Olympics," said Mike Knopp, executive director of the Chesapeake Boathouse.

The week of training will culminate with the USA Rowing World Challenge, which will blend traditional 2,000-meter racing with intense 400-meter super sprints. Organizers also plan to unveil new virtual imaging technology designed to make rowing more exciting and accessible to spectators, and will include night racing as a unique element of the competition.

The 10-day event will close with international athletes joining Oklahomans in celebrating the state's 100th anniversary at the Oklahoma Centennial Parade on October 14.

"The Oklahoma Centennial Parade is one of the centerpieces of our state's two-year centennial celebration, and we couldn't be more pleased to have athletes from around the world joining us," said J. Blake Wade, executive director of the Oklahoma Centennial Commission.

"Oklahoma City is proud to host this premiere event, which will be yet another showcase for the renaissance going on here," said Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett. "It is fitting for a city that in recent months has hosted some of the world's greatest athletes in basketball, wrestling, softball and gymnastics, to host the world's greatest rowers. It hasn't been that long since Oklahoma City University staged the city's first major rowing event on the Oklahoma River, and so the rapid progress we've made is a testament to the ambitions of OCU, the rowing community, the River Trust, and the University of Central Oklahoma. I commend them for their hard work, and I thank the USOC and USRowing for the confidence they're showing in us."

The UCO campus is currently providing three training courts, conditioning equipment, office space, and room and board for the U.S. Men's National Sitting Volleyball Team, as it prepares to compete in the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing.

The USOC's Community Partner Program is focused on uniting forces with a select group of U.S. communities that work directly with the USOC to increase public awareness of Olympic and Paralympic sports. As an officially designated USOC Community Partner, UCO is given priority status for hosting USOC initiatives and events, with schools and organizations throughout Oklahoma assisting in the distribution of USOC education and outreach materials.
A similar story but not as detailed is in today's Oklahoman.

Check out Chesapeake Boathouse's website and click here for its RiverCam. According to the website,
The Chesapeake Boathouse is the first structure to grace the banks of the newly revitalized Oklahoma River in downtown Oklahoma City. Hailed by many as a landmark presence along the river, the design is the vision of Oklahoma City architect Rand Elliott with primary funding for the project provided by Chesapeake Energy Corporation.

The design of the Chesapeake Boathouse represents a sleek rowing shell with translucent polycarbonate walls providing a dramatic nighttime image of the building “floating” above the river. Sixteen columns of light representing oars highlight the reflecting pool at the "bow" of the building. Features of the $3.5 million facility include…

Deck, lobby, and event room for receptions and meetings
Boat bays to store up to 124 rowing shells
A panoramic 24-ft. wall of glass overlooking the deck, river, and reflecting pool
Event room with a 62-foot window revealing the boat bays
Fully-equipped fitness/training room overlooking the river

The Chesapeake Boathouse is an Oklahoma Centennial Project.
Here's how to get there:

Generally, it is a bit south of the Centennial Land Run Monument ... i.e., south of Bass Pro Shop.

So, the Oklahoma River is not just for Christmas parades, anymore! It's for this! But, for some other Christmas pics from WakeWorld.com, click here.


Anonymous said...

Stumbled across your OKC blog. Can't wait to watch some first class rowing. I remember the Head of the Charles from my time in Boston. Some of your site visitors might enjoy our new Oklahoma Centennial 2007 Wall Calendar, produced for the Oklahoma History Center, and has a lot of great events throughout the state listed. Go to Oklahoma Centennial Collection

Doug Dawg said...

Well, probably they would. I would, anyway. But the link is bad. Can you give another?

Doug Dawg said...

Here's the correct link for anon's post: http://www.okcommemorative.com/cal.htm. Looks pretty nice.