Nanaimo is vying to be the location to host the 2024 Canadian track and field championships, as well as the Olympic trials.
“It’d bring about three thousand athletes and volunteers to the town,” said Tyler Heisterman, President of Nanaimo’s Track and Field Club. “It’d bring in the area of ten to fifteen million dollars in revenue to the island and the outlying areas. It’s a huge event, I mean, athletics is the biggest event in the summer Olympics. Canada probably had its best showing in the last summer Olympics, so we have Olympic record holders and world champions that will be attending.”
Nanaimo is trying to win the bid against multiple cities— such as Edmonton and Ottawa — to host big names like Damian Warner, Andre De Grasse, and Gabriela DeBues-Stafford.
“This is probably the deepest field of Canadian runners and throwers and jumpers that we’ve ever had and so I think 2024 is going to be possibly one of the best Olympic trials that could be seen in a long time.”
Heisterman says that some of the things that makes Nanaimo unique is its location very close to sea level, the island has consistently good weather during the summer, it has a ‘world class’ facility for athletes, and the fact that the city would not need to provide many infrastructure changes in order to host the trials.
“We wanted to try to bring it to Nanaimo as we’re re-emerging out of COVID, to try to bring an event of this scale and magnitude. It would really, really kickstart a lot of tourism, bring a lot of dollars to town, and also put us on the map nationally. The CBC would be there televising the entire event, and you know by the time that events are over— I mean the whole country will know where we are and what we have to offer.”
Heisterman says that if they do get the bid, they would need a few hundred thousand dollars in order to put it on.
Nanaimo’s council passed a move to support the bid unanimously.