FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Houston to Host 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for
Men's and Women's Marathon
HOUSTON - The site of some of the most historic American half-marathon
performances and host of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for the women's
marathon, Houston will host the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Men's and
Women's Marathon, USA Track & Field and the United States Olympic Committee
The 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials will be held in Houston January 14, 2012,
a day prior to the 40th anniversary of the Houston Marathon. The races will
determine the three men and three women who will represent the United
States in the marathon at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
USA Track & Field's site selection committee, comprised of USATF committee
chairs, elite athletes and staff, tapped Houston to host both races. Boston
and New Yorkhad each bid to host one Olympic Trials race. The USATF Board
of Directors approved the decision at its weekend meeting in Albuquerque,
N.M. and the USOC has green-lighted the award.
"As we expected, all three bids were remarkable, and all three bids had
qualities that made each unique," USATF CEO Doug Logan. "Ultimately, we
feel that hosting the Olympic Trials at Houston will afford our athletes
the best opportunity to succeed in London. What was most striking about
Houston's bid was their ability to integrate the Olympic Trials into their
weekend of racing in a way that benefitted all parties, but first and
foremost, the athletes."
Utilizing a public-private partnership, with the support of the city of
Houston and the Harris County Sports Commission, Houston will invest $1.7
million to host both races. Those funds will go toward event logistics,
athlete support, travel and prize money.
The timing of the race offered by Houston also was appealing to the site
selection committee. With the London Olympic Games being held in early
August, rather than the later dates of recent Games, having the Trials far
enough out to allow for proper recovery and preparation for London, yet
close enough to be relevant to the Games, was a high priority.
"We are very proud to be chosen as the Olympic Trials host city for the one
of the marquee track and field events of the Olympic Games," said Houston
Marathon race director Brant Kotch. "Through our involvement with the U.S.
Half Marathon Championships, we have developed a strong partnership with
USATF, and we are looking forward to having the eyes of the running world
focused on Houston in January 2012."
History of success
Houston, and specifically the Aramco Houston Half Marathon, has been the
site of several notable American performances in recent years. In 2007,
Ryan Hall became the first American to break 1 hour for the half marathon,
running 59:43 to break an American record that had stood since 1985. In
2009, Meb Keflezighi began his phenomenal 2009 campaign with a win at the
half marathon in 1:01:25. It was the first accomplishment of a year for Meb
that included four U.S. titles and a historic win at the ING New York City
On January 17 of this year, Shalane Flanagan won the Aramco Houston Half in
1:09:41 to smash the course record take the U.S. national title in her
career debut at the distance. In the Houston Marathon the same day,
Stanford graduate Brett Gotcher placed seventh in 2:10:35 to post the
fourth-fastest American marathon debut in history, behind Hall, Alberto
Salazar and Alan Culpepper.
Houston has hosted the USA Men's Half Marathon Championship since 2005 and
the women's Championship since 2007, and the race has been a supporter of
the USA Distance Project, dedicated to sustaining the long-term development
of elite USA distance athletes, enabling them to compete successfully in
domestic and international competitions and major championship events.
"I am really excited to know that Houston will be hosting the 2012 Olympic
Trials," 2008 Olympic 10,000m bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan said. "The
race organizers know how to make elite athletes feel at home and to set the
stage for us to compete at our highest levels. I think the timing of the
race is perfect, and I have no doubt that Houston will put on an
"Houston is a special place for me," said Keflezighi, the 2004 Olympic
silver medalist in the marathon. "Thanks to a great performance there in
2009, I had maybe the best year of my career. I even went back in 2010 to
support the race at their expo. I am looking forward to going back and
competing in 2012."
Both the men's and women's races will be held on a criterium course in
Houston, with final format of the start and other logistics to be
determined by the site selection committee in conjunction with race