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Birmingham strikes Olympic gold

Birmingham strikes Olympic gold

City Council leader Mike Whitby believes Birmingham has already struck Olympic gold almost three years before the 2012 action gets underway.

The deal for USA Track and Field – the most successful squad in Olympics history – to base themselves in Birmingham ahead of the London Games will be officially signed tomorrow (Oct 22).

This is the first major 2012 training camp deal and successfully concludes negotiations initiated by Cllr Whitby in 2006 to ensure Birmingham secures a lasting Olympic legacy

And that, says Cllr Whitby, demonstrates how Birmingham is delivering on a promise to make the most of the 2012 games, underlining why Olympic supremo Lord Coe recently called Birmingham the UK’s premier sporting city.

The USA Track and Field deal will be worth around £9million direct to the Birmingham economy but will also have a lasting impact on the cities sporting pedigree and, with a planned schools engagement programme, provide invaluable benefits for Birmingham’s school children.

A delighted Cllr Whitby said: “Attracting such a high profile team to the city for 2012 is a massive coup and signing this deal is a major boost for the city of Birmingham. It will mean our city will be place under intense worldwide media spotlight in the build-up to the Games and we can show the best that our city has to offer to the world.

“We’re not just talking about the athletes themselves coming to Birmingham, they will be joined by coaches, support staff, families and officials. Most importantly we are working on a full engagement programme for the US team to visit and work with Birmingham schools while they are here. This will provide a chance for Birmingham’s school children will be able to train with real Olympic heroes and see the value of commitment, dedication and a healthy sporty life can give you. It will be a real legacy that far outweighs the economic boost, as welcome as that is.

“Lord Coe summed it up recently when he said Birmingham was setting an example for other cities. There was of course stiff competition to attract the top teams but, to use the Olympic motto, Birmingham is making the most of 2012 because we were FASTER off the marks than our rivals, we aimed HIGHER and our case proved to be STRONGER.”

Cllr Whitby will welcome Stephanie Hightower, President of USA Track and Field, and Doug Logan, CEO USA Track and Field, to the Council House to sign the deal.

The signing will take place at 12.30pm and the trio will then be available for interviews and photographs.

This is the highest profile 2012 training camp deal to date and means many of the world’s top athletes, backed by an army of coaches, support staff and officials, plus friends and family will be spending the Olympic Games build-up in Birmingham.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in February 2008 and talks continued following last year’s Beijing Games as USA Track and Field reviewed their training camp requirements.

Now Birmingham is set for a US-style celebration as the deal is signed and the officials will be joined by cheerleaders and a US Dixie Band.


Notes to editors

Lord Coe recently applauded Birmingham’s 2012 efforts, insisting: “This is a UK-wide event and Birmingham is clearly determined to play a big part in the Games.”
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For further information, please contact Geoff Coleman on 0121 303 3501/ 07920 750004.

  • Category: Local Services
  • Reference number: null
  • Issue date: 26 October 2009