Track Crowd Smaller than Expected - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Track Crowd Smaller than Expected

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Addie Olson

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@addieolson

Organizers were expecting about 12,000 fans each day during the USA Track and Field Championships, but said they saw around 10,000 instead.

"We were hoping for a few more, but 10,000 was a great number. It filled up most of the stadium," said Greg Edwards, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Center. "The athletes were thrilled with the crowd and Des Moines is a track town, so we enjoy those kinds of events."

There were a few empty seats at Drake Stadium, but even as the running slowed, the metro saw a lot of extra traffic.

"It was very similar to when the high school track comes, the NCAA and the relays," said Jethro's Restaurant Director Dominic Iannarelli. "A lot of people spread out throughout the day, non–peak times we were still full."

Jethro's Drake location saw a 25 percent increase in sales over the busy weekend. They said crowds came out in masses despite temperatures crawling in to the 90s.

"I think this is the first year since we've been open that we've experienced this, and it went really, really well," Iannarelli said.

The Greater Des Moines Visitors Bureau said hotels were packed, but all the extra guests were happy with their host.

"The athletes, the staff, the fans – I think were really happy with what they experienced here in Des Moines."

There's talk of bringing the 2020 Olympic trials to the track town. There are a few things to be taken care of first, but the CEO of USA Track and Field seemed OK with the idea.

"He seemed to be happy with Des Moines, he likes it here, he likes the central location, he likes the facilities at Drake, so I think we've got a good shot at it," Edwards said.

Drake has plans in place to build a warm-up facility for athletes, which is something they need if they want to host the olympic trials.

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