U.S. Ski & Snowboard and the Loppet Foundation will serve as hosts of this World Cup event. Excitement is high for athletes and fans of the sport, because nearly 20 years have passed since an FIS cross country ski event has been held in this country. Plus, it will be an extremely busy time for our local tourism and hospitality industry as we will be hosting the Midwest Poultry Federation annual convention and the NCAA Men's Wrestling Championship in the same week.
Jessie competed in the FIS Cross Country World Cup Finals, last week in Quebec City, along with dozens of top skiers from across the globe. The 2020 Minneapolis event includes a local organizing committee (LOC) chaired by former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. Members of that LOC, along other representatives of organizations that will be called upon to ensure the success of the event, spent several days in Quebec City. The goal was to fully understand the scope of the responsibilities our community has to perform in 2020. While Quebec City set the bar high in many ways, our group left feeling confident in our ability to deliver a world-class event for world-class athletes.
Jessie’s parents joined her in Quebec City. The three of them provided valuable insight to the LOC from an athlete's perspective, as well from the fan/parent. Jessie's Olympic success played a critical role in Minneapolis being named a site for the race. As proud as she is to be competing in her home state and country, and in spite of the temptation of the organizers to make this event all about Jessie, she humbly insisted that we make "all athletes from around the world feel special." She reiterated that this event is about all of the athletes.
Another bit of advice Jessie offered was for local event organizers to make the men's and women's courses identical in length. (Some venues create a shorter women's course.) Her additional insights included the need to have an adequately large and secure area for athletes at the starting line, well ventilated and secure spaces for technicians to wax athletes' skis, and, of course, a sufficient number of bathrooms.
Jessie's father let the group know that a successful 2020 event will be our foot in the door with FIS for future events.
This FIS event adds to the myriad of diverse and high-profile groups our region continues to attract. Each of these groups serves as a building block to the fulfillment of our vision in becoming the sports destination of choice.