Barta: Thank You!
April 23, 2012
As I reflect on another first for the University of Iowa and the greater Iowa City area - the staging of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in the sport of wrestling - it seems more than appropriate to congratulate our community for embracing the opportunity to make our award-winning Carver-Hawkeye Arena the center of the universe for amateur wrestling in the United States last week.
The list of individuals who spent hundreds maybe thousands of hours over the course of the past 18 months planning the activities which began last Wednesday with the unveiling of the bronze statue of 1972 Olympic gold medalist and former UI wrestling coach Dan Gable, included staff of the cities of Coralville, Iowa City and North Liberty in addition to staff of the University of Iowa and the UI Athletics Department, and, of course, USA Wrestling and the United States Olympic Committee.
All are deserving of high praise. However, to a person, each would tell you today that they didn't invest the time and energy required to successfully stage these activities for personal gain or attention.
Instead, they tackled this very important project with the spirit that makes living and working in the state of Iowa so unique and special.
They saw an opportunity to bring a world-class event to our area for the benefit and enjoyment of our community.
They saw the chance to stage something that would honor the participants - the more than 200 talented men and women who have dedicated themselves as athletes to one goal: An opportunity to compete for gold in the colors of their country.
They saw an opportunity to add to the legacy that is wrestling at the University of Iowa.
This dedicated group of staff and volunteers saw it all, and they seized the opportunity for the benefit of everyone in the Corridor.
We benefitted from the regional, national and international reports generated by the more than 240 members of the media that were in attendance.
We benefitted from the fans and athletes filling our hotels, shops and restaurants.
We will benefit from the goodwill that was generated between our community and the family and friends of those who chased their Olympic dream.
And, of course, we benefitted from the energy of the 54,000 spectators that filled to capacity Carver-Hawkeye Arena for the four sessions of competition on Saturday and Sunday - and shattered the previous attendance record for the Trials -- and also enjoyed the ASICS Fan Fest in Downtown Iowa City and the offerings available in the greater Iowa City community.
Lastly, no event of this magnitude and importance is staged successfully without the personal commitment of volunteers. Volunteers are the backbone of any successful event and they were again last weekend, and we will be forever grateful for their service.
A big and heartfelt "Thank you!" to everyone who helped make it happen.
Go Hawks! And Go USA!