Tilly: Go for the gold, Iowa City

BY ZACH TILLY | AUGUST 23, 2012 6:30 AM

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For the 7-foot, sky-punching bronze likeness of the legendary former Hawkeye wrestling coach, Dan Gable, outside Carver-Hawkeye Arena, you have the Olympics to thank.

The 2012 Olympic wrestling trials, held in Iowa City in April, netted the University of Iowa more than $300,000, a portion of which was used to pay for the new statue.

Now, the UI and the cities of Iowa City and Coralville are considering bringing Olympic trials back to town in 2016.

The benefits of future Olympic trials would extend well beyond a bump in athletics prestige for the university.

Iowa City and Coralville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau President Josh Schamberger said that April’s wrestling trials were an economic boon for Johnson County.

Survey data collected from the Iowa City/Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau project that the trials brought in 14,214 wrestling fans, whose total economic impact on Johnson County came in around $5.6 million.

There may be even more money in the offing. Schamberger said that Iowa City and Coralville may consider bids for more than just wrestling trials.

“We certainly would like to explore bringing swimming and diving to the area in 2016,” said Schamberger, noting that the UI boasts one of the country’s premier college swimming facilities.

A winning bid for the 2016 swimming and diving trials would almost certainly bring with it a massive windfall for the local economy.

In true Olympic spirit, we should go for the gold.

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