The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) announced at a press event at L.A. LIVE that the 2012 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships will be held at The Home Depot Center Velodrome, an AEG-owned and operated facility, in Carson, Calif., Feb. 10-12.
The competition will welcome approximately 230 athletes from 30 countries and serve as the final qualifying event for U.S. athletes to be nominated to the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Cycling Team which will compete at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. U.S. athletes expected to compete include Allison Jones (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Greta Neimanas (Chicago, Ill.), Clark Rachfal (Annapolis, Md.), Jennifer Schuble (Houston, Texas), Aaron Trent (Columbia, S.C.) and Anthony Zahn (Riverside, Calif.).
"It's wonderful to see this large-scale international event awarded to an American city with such a proud sports background," said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. "This offers our athletes the opportunity to compete in front of a home crowd, and we're confident the Los Angeles area will show up to support all of the competitors on their journey to the 2012 Paralympic Games."
At Tuesday's press event, local children, Olympians, Paralympians and dignitaries rode up to L.A. LIVE on bikes before making the announcement. In attendance was Blackmun, AEG President and CEO Tim Leiweke, USOC Chief of Paralympics Charlie Huebner, 2008 Olympic silver medalist Mike Day, and 2008 Paralympic bronze medalist Anthony Zahn.
The local organizing committee for the 2012 event is the Los Angeles Velodrome Racing Association (LAVRA). The 2012 championship marks the first time since 1998, and just the second time ever, that the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships will be held in the United States. Previous UCI events to take place in the U.S. include the 2005 UCI Junior World Championships and 2004 UCI Elite World Championships, both held at The Home Depot Center, and the 1998 UCI Para-cycling Road and Track World Championships which was hosted in Colorado Springs, Colo.
"Once again, we are proud to host a USOC-sponsored championship event at The Home Depot Center's indoor velodrome, the site of so many previous U.S. and international races," said Leiweke. "As part of our long-standing national and international commitment to the Olympic movement, AEG developed The Home Depot Center to provide support and a showcase for our Olympic and Paralympic athletes and events such as the 2012 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships. We thank the USOC and, in particular, Scott Blackmun for their continued support of The Home Depot Center and all of the programs that this great facility makes available to athletes of all levels on a daily basis."
The Home Depot Center Velodrome, a national training center for USA Cycling, is the first and only permanent indoor track of international standard in North America. The track measures at 250 meters in circumference, 7 meters in width, and inclines at 45 degrees on both ends. With 2,450 seats, hundreds of fans will get the chance to cheer for Team USA throughout the event.
"The Home Depot Center is thrilled to host its first-ever Paralympic event in our facility's history," said The Home Depot Center's General Manager Katie Pandolfo. "Since we opened in 2003, we've proudly celebrated the Olympic spirit and supported the training and competition for thousands of athletes. To be selected to host this important global event for the Paralympic movement is an honor."