Orlando, Florida - November 15, 2023: In response to concerns raised by 84 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifiers and prominent American distance runners, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC), USA Track & Field (USATF), and the Greater Orlando Sports Commission (GO Sports) announced a significant update for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon, scheduled for February 3, 2024.
Initially set for a noon ET start time in Orlando, the marathon trials faced criticism from athletes regarding potential adverse weather conditions. The concerns prompted a letter to USATF CEO Max Siegel, leading to discussions between USATF and the Athletes Advisory Committee.
In response to athlete feedback, a joint statement was issued on November 15, revealing a collaborative decision to move the start time forward to 10:00 a.m. ET. This adjustment, based on extensive meetings and consultations, aims to address the athletes' worries and enhance the overall experience for participants, spectators, and event staff. Robust contingency plans are also in place for further adjustments, should weather conditions require them.
Chief of Sport and Athlete Services at USOPC, Rocky Harris, emphasized the commitment to supporting athletes in their pursuit of excellence. "By making this adjustment in the starting time, we underline our collective commitment with USATF to support our athletes in their quest for excellence," said Harris.
Max Siegel, CEO of USATF, expressed gratitude for the collaboration with the USOPC and GO Sports, stating, "We are extremely grateful to the USOPC and GO Sports for their partnership in developing a solution that benefits our athletes and fans."
The U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon, scheduled for February 3, 2024, in Orlando, will now commence at 10:00 a.m. ET. The adjustment reflects the dedication of the USOPC, USATF, and GO Sports to create an optimal experience for athletes vying for a spot on Team USA at the Olympic Games Paris 2024.
Greater Orlando Sports Commission CEO & President, Jason Siegel, expressed excitement about hosting the event and highlighted the importance of prioritizing health and safety. "Start times have been adjusted and revised plans are in place. It’s time to make history!"
In an earlier development, top American marathoners Jared Ward, Sara Hall, and Emily Sisson, along with 81 other athletes, raised concerns about the original noon start time. A Zoom call with USATF CEO Max Siegel on September 15 addressed these concerns, as the athletes advocated for an earlier start time, preferably at 6:00 a.m. or no later than 7:00 a.m. USATF had initially announced a 12:10 p.m. start for men and a 12:20 p.m. start for women.
The collaborative decision to adjust the start time aims to ensure optimal conditions for the athletes as they compete for coveted spots on Team USA for the Olympic Games Paris 2024.