Louisville seeking to host 2016 Olympic swimming trials - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville seeking to host 2016 Olympic swimming trials

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LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- Leah Stevens has already tasted the Olympic spotlight. The 16-year old Sacred Heart sophomore swam this summer at the Olympic trials in Omaha, Nebraska. She got to meet Ryan Lochte. She made friends with 15-year old swimming phenom Katie Ledecky. And she's on target to attend the next Olympic trials in 2016.

The question is, where will they be held?

AEG, the company that operates the KFC Yum Center is hoping it will be here in Louisville. The past two Olympic trials have been held in Omaha, Nebraska. The economic impact is estimated at $100 million, according to Dennis Petrullo of AEG.

"We would shut the arena down for seven weeks, build a pool on River Road and inside facility. Both would be donated to local college and high schools, it's an event we are working with the Sports Commission on and it would attract thousands to the city," Petrullo told reporters Monday.

Stevens and several of her other teammates on the Lakeside Swim Team have already made the cut for the next Olympic trials.

"It really got me in the game, got my name out there. I got to know a lot of people that are really fast and it motivated me a lot," said Stevens.

And now that the KFC Yum Center plans make a bid to host the 2016 Olympic trials, her teammates are equally excited.

 "I think it would be awesome. the KFC Yum Center is a great -- to swim in front of my family would be awesome," said Robert Leasure, a St. Xavier senior and signee with the University of Virginia.

"I think that would be great," said Ellie Grimes, a 17-year old duPont Manual senior who plans to attend and swim at the University of Pennsylvania next fall.

The bids to host the trials are due in December. Currently, the only water attraction at the KFC Yum Center is the fountain out front. If the city is to attract the Olympic trials, they'll have to build one pool inside, another on River Road," Petrullo said.

"We are hoping we will be successful in getting that bid," he told reporters Monday morning at the arena authority meeting.

If Louisville is to make a big splash, one report this summer by swimmingworldmagazine.com suggests the city will have to beat out between 5 to 16 other cities, including Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Fla. and Ohama, Nebraska, which has hosted the last two trials in 2008 and 2012.


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