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Opening Press Conference Quotes - U.S. Olympic Trials - Marathon

Quotes - U.S. Olympic Trials - Marathon
Opening Press Conference, February 11, 2016
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
L.A. Live, which is right next to us, is home to some of the most memorable sports and entertainment events in the world. This coming week, we will see the Grammy Awards; we’ll see stars on the red carpet; we’ll see the billions of eyes around the world come to us whether it’s through the Oscars, Emmys or Grammys that are here.
But I also think that it’s fitting that we are here because the eyes are going to be on true stars as well this weekend. The men and women of this country, who seek to represent us on the greatest stage of all, are some of the names that (are going to be) at the Olympics in Rio as well.
We’re so excited that Los Angeles has played host to so many chapters of Olympic history, and soon we will be writing this new chapter about a U.S. Olympic moment. I’ll say more about that in a second, but I want to thank Max Siegel and Tracey Russell - two friends and two visionaries who have done just an extraordinary job. A great friendship I know has come together between the two of them to be able to marry the Los Angeles Marathon and USA Track & Field’s extraordinary programs to bring up the next generation of record setters, the next generation of health conscious youth and the next generation of Americans.
This is a really exciting weekend in general for sports. This weekend, I think L.A. will cement its place not only as a pinnacle destination in the marathon world, but also as an Olympic destination and an Olympic host.
The city will host not just one, but two, world-class races in one weekend, and we have the capacity to do this and get ready for the Grammys two days later. Los Angeles has the infrastructure, has the people, has the experience to make sure that we can move through the city and that the race conditions are second to none.
U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Marathon on Saturday, followed by the 31st Annual Los Angeles Marathon builds on our heritage here in Los Angeles. On Saturday, first in partnership with USA Track & Field, Los Angeles is proud to host the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Marathon for both men and women, welcoming nearly 400 of the best marathoners in the United States.
These Trials will bring almost 400 runners here to Los Angeles, and this year’s combined field will be the largest ever. The top-three male and female finishers will earn a golden ticket to go to Rio, and I know I will certainly be there cheering them on later this summer.
The looped course between downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Memorial Coliseum will be exciting for both runners and for the spectators. And I want to tell Angelenos, you are probably coming to see the L.A. Marathon on Sunday, this year make it a two-for. Come out on Saturday and support America’s athletes on the streets of the City of Angels. We’re convinced that as they run past the storied L.A. destinations like the L.A. Memorial Coliseum four times, marathoners will find Olympic-sized inspiration in this unique and amazing city. On Sunday, we will of course run the 31st Annual Los Angeles Marathon, one of the world’s premier marathon races and welcome more than 25,000 runners from around the world to experience the diversity of the city and to traverse the many iconic landmarks that line the incredible stadium to see the route we have.
This is exciting news, and on behalf of all Angelenos, I really want to thank USA Track & Field again for choosing us. We know you have many options when you fly, but thank you for flying with us. And I want to thank them for their confidence in Los Angeles’ ability to pull this off. I also want to thank the Conqur Endurance Group for their tireless efforts in planning and producing the 2016 Olympic Team Trials - Marathon, as well as the 31st Annual Los Angeles Marathon.
We have a rich history of hosting some of the world’s greatest sporting events, including the Olympic Games twice, and we’ve always been a Games changer. Last year we hosted the biggest sports event in the world, which was Special Olympics World Games right here. And the Coliseum, which will serve as a main backdrop for this year’s Olympic Trials, is a great symbol of that history. So many talented track and field athletes have set foot on those grounds, including Joan Benoit, Carl Lewis, who was just here this past Monday and a hero of mine who I saw set a 4x100-meter record when I was 13 years old at the Olympics in 1984. Of course Edwin Moses and Babe Didrikson as well.
During the 1984 Olympic Games, L.A. hosted the first ever Women’s Olympic Marathon, and I think the highlight was Joan Benoit’s marathon gold medal. It was that memorable race which started the L.A. Marathon. So all of this comes full circle and brings back why we have a marathon - because of the Olympics, and the Olympics are back here the day before the marathon.
We are very proud to host what will be the very first USA Olympic qualifying event of 2016, and of course we are excited that Los Angeles has been selected as the United States candidate city for the 2024 Olympic Games. We have the strongest package in the world, and not only for a city that has followed the sun and continues to chase the dreams and innovation that define who we are, but the town that probably is home to more Olympic athletes than any place on the face of the earth. More of them train here and live here because of this weather, because of this place and because we are the crossroads of the world. We’re very excited to be doing that because I think showing that for the next year and a half to the world - win or lose, and we hope to win - we are so confident that Los Angeles can be one of the multiple homes of the Olympics around the world as it has in the past.
Thank you to the athletes first and foremost. We want this to be an athlete-centered weekend. We want you to have the best experience. Secondly to all the fans, we want you to be right there alongside them. We hope this is the beginning of a long collaboration with USA Track & Field and the Olympics.
We believe in this town, and I believe it to be and continue to be the ideal location for any Olympic events.
Max Siegel, USATF CEO
Thank you Mayor Garcetti from USA Track & Field, the U.S. Olympic Committee and our Olympic hopeful athletes here in the city, I want to give a heartfelt thanks to Tracey Russell, the CEO of Conqur Endurance Group, your team and all the stakeholders in the community you put together who had the vision to bid on this event, all of the hard work you’ve put in to make this event happen. We are very excited to be in Los Angeles in 2016 to kick off our Olympic journey, and there are three things that we are really, really proud of with this event.
As the mayor mentioned, we have the highest number of athletes participating in the Olympic Trials Marathon. We are very excited that we have a record purse of $600,000 in prize money that will be distributed to the athletes that participate in this race, and for the first time in history, we have live primetime coverage on NBC for both the men’s and the women’s races, and we are really thankful for that opportunity as well. Those three things for me are an indicator that we have a very strong sport, we’re really proud to be a part of this entire team to put on the race this weekend. We are excited to have the athletes tour the city and to be a part of one of the best platforms in the world and to bring a race to our fans that I think no other city in the world can do. With that, I would like to thank you Mayor and Tracey (Russell) and the entire city of Los Angeles for hosting us this year for the U.S. Olympic Trials - Marathon.
Tracey Russell, Conqur Endurance Group CEO
This weekend, Conqur Endurance Group will unite runners from around the country and from across this great community to celebrate an epic running weekend, perhaps the greatest weekend of endurance sports the country has ever seen.
Thank you, Mayor Garcetti. Your support has been instrumental in our success over the past two years, and thank you to the multiple city of Los Angeles agencies that have been tremendous to work with in preparing for this weekend.
Thank you, Max (Siegel), USA Track & Field and our partners with the United States Olympic Committee for an incredible partnership that we truly believe will produce the best ever U.S. Olympic Trials - Marathon.
It’s been a very exciting several weeks for our team. We just recently announced our new master brand, Conqur Endurance Group, which channels the vibrancy of Los Angeles though experiences through individuals and communities to exceed extraordinary limits. By hosting the U.S. Olympic Trials, we have set the stage for Angelenos of all ages as they watch the drama unfold on the streets of L.A. as those six spots on Team USA are filled for the Olympic Games in Rio. To put an event of this magnitude on, it really takes a village. Local support has been crucial to successful planning efforts. Through the creation of a host committee comprised of business, civic and government leaders, we have been able to promote this event well beyond the Southern California endurance community.
We are looking forward to spectacular races here on Saturday. For the Olympic Trials, we have created a unique spectator-friendly course that starts and finishes at Gill-Lindsey Plaza, and the athletes will run their 2.2-mile loop through downtown, will come back through the start and finish area, where they will then pick up the six-mile loop that they will run four times and then they will finish again in front of the L.A. Convention Center. 
Through the course on that Southern loop, the athletes will go through some really key iconic areas, including the University of Southern California campus, Exposition Park and of course past the iconic Los Angeles Coliseum,  giving the marathoners inspiration and a backdrop of Olympic proportions unlike anywhere else in this country.
We encourage Los Angeles residents to come out and put your feet on the street to help us line the Olympic Trials - Marathon course with excited spectators along the Figueroa Corridor.
Having supportive and enthusiastic fans creates an atmosphere that inspires athletes to excel out on the course. It’s free, family-friendly and a great way to spend your Saturday morning. As of this morning, I believe we have over 250 groups that have signed up for our Feet on the Street program and that’s about several thousand who have signed up online to be a part of it. It’s not too late. We still encourage, as the mayor said, Angelenos to come out and really support these athletes. It really helps them as they cover those 26.2 miles.
I want to thank our entire team and the staff at Conqur Endurance Group for their tireless efforts and endless enthusiasm.
On behalf of the community in Los Angeles, we wish all of those 373 athletes a tremendous and safe race on Saturday.

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