Global rotation brings event back to the United States in 2021 with over 5,000 athletes from around the world expected to compete over two days of world class competition
TAMPA, Fla. (March 21, 2019) – IRONMAN, A Wanda Sports Holdings company, announced today that Chattanooga, Tennessee and St. George, Utah have been named finalists to host the 2021 IRONMAN®70.3® World Championship triathlon, which will rotate back to the United States of America after last playing host to the event in 2017. The 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship will be a two-day event, a format that was first adopted in 2017 when the event was held in Chattanooga – with the professional women and age-group women racing on one day and the professional men and age-group men racing on the other.
“Of the many fine cities that vied for consideration to host the 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, both Chattanooga and St. George stood out,” said Andrew Messick, President & Chief Executive Officer of IRONMAN. “We are excited to move forward with these two finalists as year after year each city shines by providing world championship caliber venues and events for their athletes. The IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship showcases world-class competition at outstanding venues from around the globe. We look forward to our upcoming site visits as we determine who will be selected as the host city for the 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship triathlon.”
The IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship began in Clearwater, Florida in 2006 and since that time, has toured incredible destinations around the world with stops in Henderson, Nevada (2011-13); Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada (2014); Zell am See-Kaprun, SalzburgerLand, Austria (2015); Queensland, Australia (2016); Chattanooga, Tennessee (2017); and Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa (2018). This year, the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship will move to Nice, France before shifting back to the Oceania region in 2020 with Taupõ, New Zealand playing host.
These two world-class cities have a great deal to offer athletes and spectators alike in their bid for 2021. Here is a look at each host city finalist in more detail.
Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
Known throughout the Southeastern U.S. as the Scenic City with a vibrant downtown, Chattanooga lures athletes with its dramatic backdrop, idyllic weather and low-key southern charm. Host to IRONMAN® events beginning in 2014, Chattanooga provides a fast course with a swim in the Tennessee River. Four bridges cross the river over the swim and a pedestrian Riverwalk runs along the entire swim course making it ideal for spectators. Chattanooga is just a 90 minute drive from Atlanta and is full of attractions, eclectic dining spots and great places to stay. Having played host to the 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, Chattanooga continually delivers a world championship caliber course for each of their events and is currently looking at a new and improved bike course. Chattanooga was recently recognized by the 2018 IRONMAN Athlete Choice Awards, for the IRONMAN 70.3 and IRONMAN triathlons which ranked in the top 10 in multiple categories. Sunbelt Bakery IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga presented by McKee, A Family Bakery was tied for 1st for Will Recommend to a Friend and 5th inOverall Host City Experience. Little Debbie IRONMAN Chattanooga presented by McKee, A Family Bakery also tied for 8th for Best Overall Bike and tied for 9th for Best Overall Venue Experience.
“The 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship brought nearly 15,000 world-class athletes, families, and friends to Chattanooga for the largest IRONMAN 70.3 event ever produced at the time,” said Barry White, President and Chief Executive Officer, Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It is an honor to be selected as a finalist and we look forward to the opportunity of sharing the Chattanooga experience with competitors and fans for the 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship.”
“We are incredibly thankful to be chosen as a finalist and potentially once again showcase Chattanooga to the IRONMAN international community,” said Tim Morgan, President, Chattanooga Sports Committee. “Our community provided an unparalleled experience in 2017 and we are excited with the opportunity to elevate our efforts – we are ready!”
St. George, Utah, USA
This striking Southwestern community currently hosts the IRONMAN 70.3 North American Pro Championship and has been a host city of IRONMAN since 2010. St. George offers breathtaking scenery and views of the surrounding red rock canyons. The city’s walkable downtown area features great local fare and boutique shopping. St. George is also only a two-hour drive from the nightlife of Las Vegas, with its never-ending entertainment options. The course has historically begun in the beautiful Sand Hollow Reservoir. Athletes then embark on a bike course through picturesque Snow Canyon State Park prior to a run through the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. The IRONMAN 70.3 North American Pro Championship St. George also earned accolades in the 2018 IRONMAN Athlete Choice awards, ranking in the Top 10 for two categories – 5th in Best Overall Bike and 9th in Overall Host City Experience.
“The St. George community is thrilled to be considered for such a significant event. The best athletes in the world have competed here over the past 10 years and their feedback confirms what an unbelievable experience St. George provides,” said Kevin Lewis, Director of Washington County Tourism. “As a destination we offer a powerful combination of scenery and terrain – including some of the most talked about course features in IRONMAN circles. We back that up with an energetic community full of people who want to make a difference. It’s the kind of experience you want in a world championship and we’re excited for what lies ahead.”
“The St. George area is a place of striking contrasts. Visitors from around the globe are drawn here to experience world treasures like Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon, along with thousands of acres of untamed desert terrain just beckoning to be conquered,” Lewis continued. “The colors here will astound you. The perspective will humble you. The immensity will leave you in awe.”
Athletes can compete on these finalist venues in advance of having an opportunity to qualify for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship as registration for 2019 events in Chattanooga, Tennessee and St. George, Utah are open now. The IRONMAN 70.3 St. George North American Pro Championship triathlon takes place on Saturday, May 4, 2019 with further details available at www.ironman.com/stgeorge70.3. The Sunbelt Bakery IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga presented by McKee, A Family Bakery race is scheduled for Sunday, May 19, 2019 with details available at www.ironman.com/chattanooga70.3; and the Little Debbie IRONMAN Chattanooga presented by McKee – A Family Bakery will take place on Sunday, September 29, 2019 with further details available at www.ironman.com/chattanooga.
Qualification for the 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship will begin in July of 2020. IRONMAN expects approximately 200,000 registered athletes from around the world to compete at any of the more than 115 events in the global IRONMAN 70.3 Series in locations such as Australia, Brazil, Africa, Malaysia and China to earn a coveted slot. In addition, each age-group winner at the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Taupõ, New Zealand will automatically qualify for the 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship.
For more information about the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, please visit www.ironman.com/worldchampionship70.3. For more information on IRONMAN and the series of events and to register for open events, visit www.ironman.com. For media related inquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau / Chattanooga Sports Committee
The Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), the community’s official destination management organization, promotes and develops visitor experiences for the community’s economic and social prosperity. The Chattanooga Sports Committee (CSC), an integrated division of the Chattanooga CVB, promotes and develops sporting experiences for the community’s economic and social prosperity. Chattanooga’s 15.6 million annual visitors generate $1.1 billion in economic impact supporting 8,840 full-time tourism jobs. chattanoogafun.com; chattanoogasports.com
About St. George
St. George is a community energized by nature and inspired by achievement. Red rock desert and alpine landscapes come together to form a striking blend of color and contrast providing an endless assortment of outdoor recreation. Visitor information is available at: www.visitstgeorge.com.
About the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship
In 2006 the inaugural IRONMAN® 70.3® World Championship was held in Clearwater, Florida becoming another test for the world’s elite triathletes. Since that auspicious beginning, the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship has grown in stature and popularity moving first to Henderson, Nevada in 2011, where athletes encountered a more challenging terrain and then to Mont-Tremblant, Quebec—its first stop on the new “global rotation” for the championship. The event reached European soil for the first time ever in 2015, with Zell am See, Austria, hosting an epic and memorable event. In 2016, the race moved from the mountains to the beaches of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. Last year, the event returned to the United States, taking place in Chattanooga, Tennessee, becoming a two-day race for the first time. In 2018, the event reached the African continent for the first time and was hosted in Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa. More than 185,000 athletes participated in a season of qualifying races for the championship, a series which consists of over 100 events in locations such as Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, North America, South Africa and Switzerland. Approximately 4,500 athletes from around the world were registered to compete in this prestigious race. Participants in the Isuzu IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship ranged in age from 18 to 78-plus, and represented over 100 countries, territories and regions. The race will move to Nice, France for 2019 with qualification events already underway. In 2020, the event will move to Taupõ, New Zealand where there is a long and storied IRONMAN history that spans 20 years.
As part of Wanda Sports Holdings, the IRONMAN Group operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series®, Iron Girl®, IRONKIDS®, International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Series races, road cycling events including the UCI Velothon® Series, mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, premier marathons including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, trail running like Ultra-Trail Australia™, and other multisport races. IRONMAN’s events, together with all other Wanda Sports Holdings events, provide more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. The iconic IRONMAN® Series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Since the inception of the IRONMAN® brand in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines at the world’s most challenging endurance races. Beginning as a single race, IRONMAN has grown to become a global sensation with more than 230 events across 53 countries. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.
About Wanda Sports Holding
Wanda Sports Holdings is the world’s leading sports business entity, founded to capture the opportunities in the global sports industry and to contribute to the prosperous international sports landscape – in three key areas: 1) Spectator Sports (media and marketing business), 2) Participation Sports (active lifestyle business), 3) Services (digital, production and service business). Wanda Sports Holding incorporates the international sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media, the iconic endurance brand IRONMAN, and Wanda Sports China. The headquarters are in Guangzhou, China.