‘Orlando is ready for this’: Central Floridians embrace historic Olympic Trials downtown

It was a historic day in Central Florida on Saturday morning.


More than 350 athletes from all parts of the country hit the roads of downtown Orlando, hoping to get a chance at the Olympic Games in Paris this summer.

The Olympic Trials kicked off at 10 a.m.

Runners made their way to the Milk District and back for a total of 26.2 miles.

Read: U.S. Olympic Team Trials Marathon kicks off busy weekend in downtown Orlando

It is the first time the event is hosted in Florida, and tons of visitors also made their way to the Sunshine State to cheer on their favorite athletes.

“We’re watching the trials, excited for the boys out here. We’re here rooting for some Utah kids,” said Landon Southwick, who was visiting from Utah. “What an amazing accomplishment for these men and women.”

Tens of thousands of spectators watched as the athletes raced to cross the finish line.

Read: Hundreds of thousands of people expected to pack Orlando this weekend

“We are here specifically to watch the women’s race,” said Emily Krudner, who’s visiting from California. “Women’s distance running is killing right now.”

This is the first time the City of Orlando has hosted such a monumental event, and the city got an A+ from first-time visitors.

“The town is so beautiful; the course they’re running is amazing,” said Justine Galloway from San Diego. “And the people have been just so welcoming. It feels like a running town.”

Read: ‘It’s a beautiful city’: Top Elite runners admire Orlando amid Olympic Marathon Trials

It is also good for business.

Hotels and restaurants around town have been packed with tourists and athletes.

According to the Greater Orlando Sports Commission, the event could bring as much as $15 million dollars to the city.

“Orlando is ready for this,” said Doreen Ratigan, an Orlando resident. “This is spectacular, and we’re ready for something like this. We embrace this kind of international, national participation.”

The Orlando Police Department says it’s working with multiple agencies to keep everyone safe.

Some road closures will remain in effect until later in the afternoon.

See our other Olympic Team Trials - Marathon coverage below:

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