© Copyright – 2015 – Athletics Illustrated
The City of Champions appears to be re-branding itself, at least for 2015, as TrackTown Canada. Edmonton, Alberta, the city that won five-consecutive CFL Grey Cups during the late 1970s and early 1980s, then again in 1987, as well as five NHL Stanley Cups in seven years from 1984 to 1990, plus two more Stanley Cup finals, does have a history of hosting major events and producing winning teams.
Edmonton, the most northern city in North America with a population of at least one-million people, hosted the Commonwealth Games in 1978, and then during the summer of 2001 both the IAAF World Track and Field Championships and the ITU World Triathlon Championships took place there. Now for the summer of 2015 Edmonton will host three track meets in one month.
The first meet on the schedule is the Canadian Track and Field Championships from July 2nd to the 5th, followed by the National Track League’s TrackTown Classic on July 12th and finally the Pan American Junior World Championships from July 31st to the 2nd of August.
The National Track and Field Championships is an event where Canadians, who up until that point, will have been seeking qualification standards to make the 2015 Toronto Pan American Games, 2015 Beijing IAAF World Track and Field Championships and perhaps may already be working on the 2016 Rio Olympic Games standards. They will need to finish either top-three while having a qualifying time for Worlds or have a top-two mark for Pan Ams. There are no specific time, height or distance requirements for Pan Am qualification; just be first or second in the nation, during the qualification window. This trifecta of qualification opportunities will make for a very exciting track meet.
The National Track League’s TrackTown Classic is part of a five-city league that includes Guelph with the Speed River Inferno on May 30th, Halifax’s Aileen Meagher meet on June 2nd, Vancouver’s Harry Jerome Track Classic on June 8th, the Victoria International Track Classic on June 10th and the TrackTown Classic on July 12th.
The TrackTown Classic will host some top-level athletes including Alyson Felix and Nick Symmonds.
American, Felix is a four-time Olympic and eight-time World championships gold medallist in the 200m, 4x100m and 4x400m. She is the fourth fastest all-time and fastest current 200m runner in the world with her 21.69 personal best.
Nick Symmonds also of the US is one of the all-time fastest American 800m runners with his best of 1:42.95. He is a World championships silver medallist and a five-time American 800m champion. Symmonds lives and trains in TrackTown, USA – Eugene, Oregon, – pop: 351,000, for the greater metro area – recently won the rights to host the 2021 IAAF World Track and Field Championships. The National Championships and TrackTown Classic will be streamed live by AthleticsCanada.tv as will all five NTL meets.
We are a long ways from the glory years of Grey Cups and Stanley Cups for the city of Edmonton, but this summer should be very fast and exciting.