Des Moines – 2014 AAU Junior Olympic Games

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D.M. adds 2014 AAU Junior Olympic Games

Des Moines has picked up at least one more round of the AAU Junior Olympic Games – and another estimated $25 million boost to its pocketbook.

The city has learned it will host the 2014 Games, following up on an already successful bid for 2009.

Each event is expected to attract more than 13,000 athletes, 2,300 coaches and 35,000 visitors, while utilizing about 30,000 hotel room nights. The 2009 Games, featuring 21 sports, are scheduled for July 26-Aug. 8.

Al Lorenzen, vice president of sports and development for the Des Moines Area Sports Commission, said that the Junior Olympics would be at least twice as big as the heavyweight Drake Relays in terms of overall impact.

“From a peer athletic and sporting focus, nothing comes close,” he said.

Lorenzen said there were more than 10,000 athletes in track and field alone this summer in Detroit – meaning Des Moines’ expertise in the sport helped seal the deal.

“Part of this is our ability to host track and field – and Drake Stadium is one of the best track facilities in the country,” he said.

Lorenzen said “it’s a very good possibility” Des Moines will land the 2019 games, as well.

Des Moines also hosted the Junior Olympics in 1995 and 2004.

“I can’t state strongly enough how big this event is,” he said.