“Additionally, much of the support team and staff that make winning medals possible will be Oklahoma-based too,” he said. “This could include all elements of sports medicine and technology, including equipment manufacturing.”
Knopp also predicts future Olympic and Paralympic champions coming from Oklahoma City’s Boathouse District, as well as NCAA and world champions in both rowing and paddling.
“The depth of talent that is already emerging from Oklahoma City is raising the caliber of all the athletes who train on our waterway, from our growing junior programs to the robust collegiate programs at OU, UCO and OCU,” he said.
Much of that future success will be the result of the expected expansion of youth rowing in the city, he said.
“With one of the world’s premier venues and all the collegiate and Olympic opportunities that are available, it seems natural that river sports would become a focus for central Oklahoma middle schools and high schools in much the same way as schools in world class mountain resort communities embrace skiing,” Knopp said.
Jacobi said the white-water venue to be built on the Oklahoma River will be unique and become part of the city’s brand.
“Music and the arts will be a much larger component of the Boathouse District, as well as accommodations, dining and retail,” he said.
Knopp said the Boathouse District and activities on the Oklahoma River will continue to put Oklahoma City in the national spotlight in the next 20 years and improve the quality of life for its residents.
Knopp envisions more ways the Boathouse District can reach children with special needs and the disabled, “so more people can experience the freedom of being on the water in a kayak or rowing shell.”
The best of what the Boathouse District will offer is yet to come, he said.
“It’s amazing we’ve accomplished so much in less than a decade,” he said. “In 20 years, I believe the Oklahoma River’s impact upon the lives of Oklahomans will be the most powerful statement about the success of the river.”