MANATEE -- The Manatee County Commission will consider a $150,000 reimbursement agreement Tuesday with a nonprofit group to sponsor pentathlon events in 2015-16.
For the first time in 40 years, the international championship in the sport of pentathlon will be held on American soil in Sarasota-Bradenton.
The commission would commit to up to $50,000 a year for three years to the nonprofit group SB Pentathlon, the local organizing committee, said Elliott Falcione, executive director for the Bradenton Area Convention Center.
"It's pretty remarkable," said Katherine Harris, organizing chairwoman for the Sarasota-Bradenton Modern Pentathlon Organizing Committee. "We had 72 athletes from around the world, and 22 countries represented at the one that happened two weeks ago."
She was referring to the 2014 Modern Pentathlon World Cup Final, which took place earlier this month and attracted elite athletes to the Sarasota Polo Club and Selby Aquatic Center in Sarasota.
One of the most exciting aspects in hosting such events is having Olympic rings in our area, said Falcione.
"We should gain a lot of market impression having the rings in our backyard," he said. "It excites us more than visitors, although visitors are important, but to be able to say you've had the Olympic rings in your backyard is something special and that makes the investment special."
Manatee County partners, including the Sarasota County Commission and the Benderson Development Co., have already sent in checks for like amounts, said Jim Ley, the former Sarasota County administrator handling business matters for SB Pentathlon.
Harris said the Gulf Coast Community Foundation also is contributing, noting: "We had to show the commitment first" before the area was awarded the bid for the events.
Pentathlon athletes fence, swim, ride horseback, run and shoot.
Event dates include:
First World Cup Competition, Feb. 18-22, 2015
World Cup Finals Competition in June 2016 and
U.S. Olympic Team Trials in March 2016.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter@sarawrites.