Iowa City One Of Seven Bid Cities

Dec. 10, 2010

PARDON OUR PROGRESS! As friends of the UI and fans of the Hawkeyes know, the UI Athletics Department is well into a multi-million dollar revitalization of Carver-Hawkeye Arena. This important and exciting project has reduced for this season the number of ticket windows that are operational on game nights. Fans attending the home events of the 2010-11 UI men’s basketball, women’s basketball and wrestling teams are invited to avoid game night delays by purchasing their event tickets online or in advance of game day. If your schedule doesn’t allow for an advance purchase, we recommend you consider arriving at the Arena a little earlier than originally planned. Go Hawks!

Iowa City, Iowa is one of the seven cities which have submitted a bid to host the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling and Weightlifting. The target date for the event is the weekend of April 20-21, 2012.

The Iowa City bid has been submitted by the University of Iowa Athletics Department and Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. The proposed venue for the competition is Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“We are positioned at the epicenter of wrestling nation. There are over 18 million people within a 3.5 hour drive of our community. Many of the nation’s top wrestling programs are within a half-days drive. We are also incredibly convenient to get to from both coasts with over 125 direct daily flights into three airports,” said Joshua Schamberger, President of the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We are very excited by the addition of weightlifting and have a terrific location planned for USA Weightlifting. It is within a couple hundred yards of Carver-Hawkeye Arena, allowing fans to go back and forth between sessions. We believe this will translate into record attendance for USA Weightlifting.”

Carver-Hawkeye Arena, which is located on the University of Iowa campus, serves as the home arena for Iowa’s wrestling team, as well as Iowa’s basketball and volleyball squads. The arena seats 15,000 for wrestling and is named after long-time wrestling supporter Roy J. Carver. The venue has more than enough room on the main arena floor for the required raised wrestling mats. It is a multi purpose building, which has additional facilities that could be used for event purposes. The $47 million Carver-Hawkeye Arena – Addition and Renovation Project is underway to expand and upgrade facilities, and is scheduled for completion in time for the 2011-12 athletic year. For more information, visit

The local organizing committee is led by the University of Iowa Athletics and the Iowa City/Coralville Area CVB and includes leaders from the City of Iowa City, City of Coralville and City of North Liberty. Among those serving on the host committee are legendary collegiate and Olympic wrestlers Dan Gable, Tom Brands, Terry Brands, Lincoln McIlravy and current Cornell coach Mike Duroe.

For information on Iowa City/Coralville Area CVB, visit For information on U of I Athletics, visit

Carver-Hawkeye Arena hosted the NCAA Div. I Wrestling Championships four times (1986, 1991, 1995, 2001). The total attendance figures for the 1995 (80,389), 2001 (79,477) and 1991 (70.163) NCAA Championships rank ninth, 11th and 15th, respectively among NCAA Wrestling Championships. It also hosted the Big Ten Wrestling Championships three times (1983, 1994, 2005).

A preliminary U.S. Olympic Team Trials qualifying event for wrestling was held in Carver-Hawkeye Arena in 1984. Other major wrestling competitions held at Carver-Hawkeye Arena include two NWCA All-Star Classics (1993, 1996) and two Cliff Keen NWCA National Duals (1998, 1999).

The Field House at the University of Iowa hosted the first USA Wrestling Junior National Championships in 1971, and served as venue for the competition from 1971-1982. Iowa City also hosted USA Wrestling’s Greco-Roman National Championships three times (1975, 1977, 1978). Iowa City also hosted the 1983 USA Wrestling Freestyle World Team Trials.

“I believe one of our biggest strengths is our fan base,” said Schamberger. “Iowa owns the highest NCAA average attendance at over 8,100 fans per dual. We also own the NCAA record for largest single attendance at 15,955. That number was set at an Iowa/Iowa State dual which provides a small glimpse as to the support we might expect if we were fortunate enough to host the trials. Those 15,955 fans would obviously be united in advancing Team USA.”

Among the other sports-related events hosted in Iowa City are Herky on Parade, with 100,000 visitors, RAGBRAI, with 30,000 visitors, and FRY Fest, with 25,000 visitors. University of Iowa home football games attract 75,000 visitors to the city.

A central component of the Iowa City bid is the storied University of Iowa wrestling program, which has won 23 of the last 36 NCAA Div. I wrestling team titles. During that span, Iowa boasted 235 All-Americans and 66 individual champions, more than any other school. Iowa captured 9 straight NCAA titles from ’78-’86. Sports Illustrated named the Iowa Wrestling Program one of the top 10 “sports dynasties” of the 20th century. The Hawkeye program has produced 17 Olympic wrestlers. Olympic champion Dan Gable served as the head coach of the team from 1977-1997 and set numerous coaching records. The team is currently coached by Olympic champion Tom Brands and is the defending NCAA team champions in wrestling.

Other Div. I wrestling programs in the state include the Univ. of Northern Iowa, 90 miles from Iowa City, and Iowa State University, 138 miles from Iowa City. The state of Iowa boasts 23 college varsity wrestling programs, including three in Div. I, one in Div. II, nine in Div. III, six in the NAIA and four in the NJCAA.

The Iowa Wrestling Federation is an active and successful USA Wrestling state association, with 2,323 athletes, 322 coaches and 45 clubs in the 2009-10 membership year. The organization is led by state chairperson Mark Reiland of Iowa City. The IWF has helped host many national and regional events, including U.S. World Team Trials events in Council Bluffs, Ames, Sioux City, Waterloo and Iowa City. The Northern Plains Junior/Senior Regionals is hosted regularly in Waterloo. For more information, visit

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, Iowa had 6,655 boys high school wrestlers from 314 high school teams in 2009-10. The NFHS statistics also included 47 girl high school wrestlers from 25 programs. Iowa and the surrounding Midwest states are considered a hotbed for amateur wrestling, with a strong fan following for the sport.

As previously indicated in the Iowa sister-city’s bid (Council Bluffs), Iowa boasts a healthy powerlifting community. There are a number of area facilities which train athletes in competitive powerlifting. The current CEO of the United Powerlifting Association resides in nearby Dubuque, Iowa and will host the 2011 Iowa & Midwest Powerlifting Championships. Former USA Olympic Weightlifting Coach and member Jed Smith has agreed to assist Iowa City in helping lead the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Weightlifting operational and marking efforts. Jed is the current Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for University of Northern Iowa. At the U.S. National Championship level, Smith has to his credit two National Champions, four silver medalists, and six bronze medalists. Internationally, Smith has coached Jason Fiacco to a Team USA bronze medal.

The Iowa City metropolitan area includes a population of 340,000 people. There are 18 hotels within three miles of Carver-Hawkeye Arena which would be available to fans attending the competition. An additional 42 hotels (6,000 rooms) are located in the area. The city is served by the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, which is 22 miles from Carver-Hawkeye Arena and the Quad City International Airport in Moline, Ill. 66 miles from Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The Iowa City area is surrounded by great attractions, retail, and cultural entities. As a major university town, it boasts some of the best restaurants in the state and diverse shopping and cultural venues. The Amana Colonies are Iowa’s No. 1 tourist attraction and located a short 15-minute drive from Carver Hawkeye Arena. The Amish community of Kalona and nearby Herbert Hoover Presidential Library are also popular tourist destinations. The City of Cedar Rapids (Iowa’s 2nd largest city) is a short 20-minute drive north of town and boasts many additional entertainment venues and attractions. Cedar Rapids is home to Grant Wood, the artist of the most recognizable American painting, American Gothic, which was painted in downtown Cedar Rapids.

The group of seven bid cities will be reduced to between three and four finalist bids, with an announcement from USA Wrestling and USA Weightlifting expected on Dec. 20.

The organizing committees selected as finalists will be invited to make an in-person presentation on behalf of their bid during the week of Jan. 10-14, 2011. A committee will review the finalist bid presentations. An announcement on the bid selected to host the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling and Weightlifting is targeted for Jan. 17, 2011.

Each bid proposal includes hosting both the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling and Weightlifting. The wrestling event will feature competition in the three Olympic styles of the sport – men’s freestyle, Greco-Roman and women’s freestyle. The weightlifting event will include both men’s and women’s weight divisions.

The competition will determine the U.S. athletes in both sports who will qualify to represent the United States at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.