OAK BROOK—For the first time in almost 10 years, the USA Weightlifting National Championships are returning to the Chicago area. This May, spectators will have front row seats as top tier athletes from across the country sweat, grunt, and attempt to "clean" just a few more pounds of iron than their competitors. The sanctioned USA Olympic event, which is hosted in-part by DuPage County, is expected to draw hundreds of athletes, spectators, and vendors, while bringing a significant economic impact to the community. “Being selected to host weightlifting’s return to the Chicago area is a great honor,” said Beth Marchetti, executive director at DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We are very excited that a sporting event of this caliber recognized the vibrancy of DuPage County, and look forward to hosting similar athletic competitions in the future." Weightlifting has deep roots in the Chicagoland area.
Many weightlifting Hall of Fame athletes have called the region home, including notable names such as Mike Karchut, Rick Holbrook, Jeff Michels, Clyde Emrich, and Henry Duey. Tara Nott Cunningham, the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic gold in the sport in 2000, was trained by Mike Gattone, a Chicago-area coach. Despite the city's long history with the sport, the Chicago-area's many weightlifting clubs have not had the privilege of hosting a major weightlifting competition in their own backyard since 2009, when the Windy City held the 2009 National Championships and Pan American Championships. In May, that will change. "I want to say thank you to Team Chicago and DuPage County for making this year's national championships happen,” said USA Weightlifting CEO, Phil Andrews. “Big weights and deep dish pizza-- what more could one want?"
Preparations for the event, which takes place May 11 to 13, are already underway. On Tuesday a USA Weightlifting representative will tour DuPage attractions and the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center hotel, where the competition will take place, to plan for event set-up. The competition is expected to draw about 1,000 visitors to DuPage over the weekend, nearly 500 room nights and an estimated economic impact of half a million dollars. “The Westin Hotel in Lombard will make an excellent venue for the USA Weightlifting 2017 National Championships,” said Roger Einbecker, a local coach assisting with the event. “Those attending will enjoy the restaurants, shopping, and recreational opportunities in the immediate area, as well as those in the nearby DuPage communities. With the assistance of the staff of the Westin and the DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau, we anticipate having a great event.”
The competition is open to the public. Tickets are $15 per day or $40 for the entire weekend. The Westin Lombard Yorktown Center is conveniently located steps away from the many boutiques, specialty shops and restaurants of Yorktown Center. The hotel is only 15 miles from both O’Hare International and Midway airports, near interstate access, and a Metra ride away from the city of Chicago.