Excitement is building for the USA Triathlon Tuscaloosa Tri-Palooza, a weekend long festival celebrating multisport in Tuscaloosa, Ala., April 17-20.
“The weekend will provide something for everyone no matter what your triathlon experience level or if you just want to be part of the biggest weekend of the year in triathlon,” said USAT National Events Director Jeff Dyrek.
The festivities are being planned around two of USAT’s hallmark events for 2008: the Collegiate National Championship and the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. The collegiate race is set for Saturday, April 19 at 7 a.m., followed by the women’s Olympic Trials at noon and the men’s Olympic Trials at 2:30 p.m. An awards ceremony and post-race press conference will take place following the men’s race.
"Tuscaloosa is honored to host the Olympic Triathlon Trials and the USAT National Championship,” said Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter Maddox. “There is a buzz across the City because we know some of our nation's best athletes will be coming to Tuscaloosa to seek glory. We know about supporting champions, and we are confident that we will host a first-class event that will make our country proud."
Two additional races are planned for Sunday, April 20: the Tuscaloosa Triathlon (an open event for the community) at 8 a.m. and the USAT Twenty-12 Talent ID Invitational at 11:30 a.m. The Tuscaloosa Triathlon will include a collegiate wave to accommodate those athletes who were not able to enter Collegiate Nationals.
Athletes at the Twenty-12 Talent ID Invitational and the Tuscaloosa Triathlon will be racing on the same course as the Olympic Trials, though the races will be sprint distance events.
All races will begin and end at River Road Park East, on Jack Warner Parkway.
“Tuscaloosa Tri-Palooza is the first-ever USA Triathlon Festival and will provide athletes, spectators and multisport enthusiasts the perfect environment to participate, spectate or just be part of the weekend,” said Dyrek. “It’s a great opportunity for people to see world class athletes compete at the Olympic Trials and Collegiate Nationals on Saturday and see future hopefuls compete at the Twenty-12 Talent ID Invitational and the Tuscaloosa Triathlon on Sunday.”
The activities actually kick off on Thursday, April 17 when several of the elite Olympic-hopeful athletes will visit local schools for presentations throughout the day. The athletes competing in the Trials race have a press conference at 3 p.m., followed by a race briefing at 4 p.m. Free haircuts and coloring will be offered by local salons, allowing the collegiate athletes to express their personalities and show their school spirit. Beginning at 6 p.m., the festivities continue with a parade, pep rally, opening ceremonies and evening entertainment that is designed to bring the city and the visiting athletes together.
The elite athlete school visits continue throughout Friday, but the majority of the day will be geared around athlete check-in, meetings, team briefings, a spirit contest, food vendors, and a sponsor expo at the Athlete Village located on the corner of Jack Warner Parkway and Greensboro Avenue. The night will close with the traditional pasta party for all participants at 6 p.m. at the Athlete Village, hosted by Tuscaloosa Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Find out more about the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.