The path to the 2024 Olympics in Paris for U.S. gymnasts may be through Minneapolis.
Minnesota Sports and Events (MNSE), the nonprofit that has been courting the U.S. Gymnastics Olympic trials for months, sent word of a news conference Tuesday morning for a "media-worthy celebration at Target Center to announce a MAJOR upcoming event to be held in Minneapolis."
MNSE President Wendy Blackshaw said she couldn't discuss the news in advance. But Blackshaw has made no secret of courting the Olympic gymnastics trials for months, and there has been no announcement yet on the location either here or elsewhere.
Last month, Gov. Tim Walz tweeted a photo taken with Olympic gymnastics gold medalist and St. Paul native Suni Lee when she stopped by the Capitol during session. He wrote: "Minnesota athletes like @sunisalee_ are writing sports history — and we're working to keep that winning streak going by bringing sports like the gymnastics Olympic trials to the Twin Cities. Thank you to Suni and @MNSportsEvents for your work to get this done."
The Gymnastics Now website, which covers the sport, picked up on his comment and published a story about how the governor might have accidentally revealed that the 2024 trials are heading to the Twin Cities. But the publication said that both USA Gymnastics and Minnesota Sports and Events responded with "Woah there, buddy."
The timing would certainly be right for a gymnastics announcement. The event is set for June 27-30 next year with the men and women's competitions on alternating days. If the site is chosen for the event, tickets would go on sale immediately with Target Center expected to sell out for the glamour event of the Olympics.
Lee announced earlier this year that she was leaving Auburn after two years to focus on trying to make the Olympic team for Paris.
Minnesota has lost out on similar bids. MNSE wanted to host the 2024 swimming trials at U.S. Bank Stadium, but the pool trials will be held in Indianapolis next year.
Blackshaw was successful, however, in securing some state funding for MNSE this session. MNSE got $6 million in the Explore Minnesota Tourism budget and another $13 million to try to lure the WWE to town.
Blackshaw has previously said she expects the price tag to host the gymnastics event would be $5 million and come from a mixture of public and private money.
MNSE is a regional sports commission aiming to bring world-class events to Minnesota. In 2022, MNSE events included the NHL Winter Classic at Target Field, the MLS All-Star Game and the NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four.
Earlier this year, MNSE hosted the 2023 Big Ten Women's Basketball Championship at Target Center. Next year, MNSE will host the men's and women's Big Ten championships and the NCAA Men's Frozen Four in hockey. In 2025, the women's Frozen Four will come to town and 2026 will bring the Special Olympics.