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January 2017 8 www.sportseventsmagazine.com Athletes must be on a USA Softball registered team for the 2017 season and must be age eligible for the 12-Under JO division. Each region is responsible for the selection process for their teams, and players must commit and be registered no later than July 1. Cedar Rapids Lands NAIA Cross Country Championships CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – Cedar Rapids and Mount Mercy University will host the 2018 and 2020 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Men's & Women's Cross Country National Championships at Seminole Valley Cross Country Course. Approximately 320 male and 320 female runners, along with 1,500 fans, will attend the events generating more than $500,000 in visitor spending each year. Hosting the championship events also means that pre- meets will be scheduled in 2018 and 2020, offering teams the opportunity to experience the Seminole Valley Cross Country Course one month prior to the November champi- onship races. Each of these pre- meets will bring in an estimated $100,000 in visitor spending. The process to win the NAIA Men's & Women's Cross Country National Championships began seven years ago with a meeting between GO Cedar Rapids, the City of Cedar Rapids Parks & Recreation Department and Mount Mercy University's Athletic Department. The lack of a championship-level course in the area led to the creation of the Seminole Valley Cross Country Course by the Cedar Rapids Parks & Recreation Department with fundraising assistance from GO Cedar Rapids and Mount Mercy University. In 2015, Mount Mercy University hosted the first collegiate cross-country event on the course, the Seminole Valley Stampede. In June 2016, the successful bid to host the 2018 and 2020 National Championships was submitted. Industry Olympic Channel Coming in 2017 NEW YORK — In a ground- breaking collaboration to connect fans to the Olympic movement year-round, the International Olympic Commit- tee, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and NBC Universal (NBCU) have created a comprehensive Olympic Channel content and distribu- tion partnership in the United States. During the second half of 2017, the partnership will launch a new U.S. television network under the "Olym- pic Channel: Home of Team USA" brand that will offer fans year-round Olympic-sport programming from around the world, with an emphasis on their favorite American athletes and teams. The new partnership com- plements the Olympic Channel, which launched as a worldwide digital platform following the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Addi- tional details about the launch of the new linear cable channel will be provided at a later date. Along with the channel, the partnership also brings additional coverage of Olym- pic sports programs that will appear exclusively on other NBCU platforms, including NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Digital outlets. The three organizations will collaborate to produce and distribute Olympic sports and Olympic-themed programming on a year-round basis between the Games, providing conti- nuity that reflects the idea that even though the Olympic flame is extinguished at the end of each Games, the athletes' own compelling stories and journeys continue. The collaborative program- ming will emphasize live events from a broad portfolio of summer and winter Olympic t SPORTS Talk INDIANAPOLIS — World Para Swimming announced a new World Series that will bring together some of the world's big- gest and best competitions. The event, to be introduced in 2017, will offer athletes the chance to compete in a dedicated circuit for the first time, including a stop in Indianapolis on June 9-11. The World Para Swimming World Series will begin in Copenhagen, Denmark, in March, moving to Sao Paulo, Brazil; Sheffield, Great Britain; and Indianapolis before con- cluding in Berlin, Germany, in July. The move represents a major development within para swimming and aims to further develop the sport after the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and at the start of the Tokyo 2020 cycle. It will act as a stepping stone for the world and regional championships. "At Rio 2016, para swimming was one of the most talk- ed-about and well-attended sports and we are confident that building a World Series will bring benefits for everyone with an interest in the sport," said Ryan Montgomery, summer sports director for the International Paralympic Committee. "As well as offering fans and the media more opportuni- ties to follow the world's best athletes, it also allows us to enhance para swimming in other areas such as classification, competition management, education and research. World Para Swimming's announcement of a more com- prehensive and competitive international calendar has been welcomed by some of the world's best athletes. n Swim Series Set for Para Swimmers