Road to London Begins In Charlotte

Jan. 30, 2012, 11:42 a.m. (ET)

London may be calling, but before these athletes compete across the pond, they need to make a critical stop in the Queen City. An unprecedented amount of athletic ability with ties to 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London will take place in Charlotte this spring, bringing together three Olympic sports in one exceptional city.

The Modern Pentathlon World Cup and Olympic Qualifier kicks off the excitement beginning March 8–11 at facilities including Grady Cole Center, Memorial Stadium and the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center. Then April 12–14, the Olympic Trials for Canoe Slalom take to the rapids at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Finally, the 2012 Charlotte UltraSwim hits the pool at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center May 10–13.

“As one of the last stops before the 2012 London Games, Charlotte demonstrates a keen ability to host events of an intense caliber. In fact, no other U.S. destination will host this amount of Olympic activity leading up to the Games,” says Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) CEO Tom Murray. “We’re honored to welcome the Olympic spirit and will strive to make each event an unforgettable experience for the athletes, coaches, relatives and spectators drawn to?the region.”

Modern Pentathlon World Cup #1
Five sports including swimming, fencing, horseback riding, running and shooting comprise the rigorous gauntlet of Modern Pentathlon. Over 80 men and 60 women from more than 30 countries will compete in an event first introduced in the 1912 Olympic Games. While the sport celebrates its 100th Anniversary this year beginning in Charlotte, its origins are steeped in the original Greek Pentathlon dating back to 708 BC. A first place finish at the Modern Pentathlon World Cup #1 will automatically qualify a male and female athlete for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

2012 Olympic Trials for Canoe Slalom
Speed is the key for Canoe Slalom athletes, who navigate their canoe or kayak through suspended gates as they work their way through 300 meters of whitewater rapids in the fastest time possible. Originally debuting at the 1972 Olympic Games, the sport did not reappear until the 1992 Games. Now a regular Olympic fixture, the Olympic Trials in Charlotte will feature disciplines including men’s and women’s Kayak and men’s single and two-person Canoe. Drawing more than 100 athletes from the U.S. and Canada, a maximum of five athletes from each country will compete for the chance to represent their nation in London.

2012 Charlotte UltraSwim presented by SwimMAC
Over the last 27 years, Charlotte UltraSwim has been privileged to host more than 10,000 athletes, approximately 130 Olympians and over 50 Olympic Gold Medalists. 2012 promises to be no exception to the gloried meet, which will be one of the last major stops for an outstanding field of competitors before the Olympic Team Trials in Omaha. Look for all- star athleticism from contenders like Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Natalie Coughlin and more as they dive in for blazing fast heats and a $20,000 purse.