Lynchburg leaders celebrate State Games of America site selection

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) From track and field to baseball, Liberty University has built or expanded facilities in the last ten years to accommodate just about any sport.

In 2019 LU's athletic complexes will host more than 15,000 athletes for the State Games of America.

"What a coup!" exclaimed Virginia Amateur Sports president Pete Lampman at a new conference announcing the site selection Thursday in Lynchburg.

Virginia Amateur Sports worked with Liberty University leaders and Lynchburg city officials to bring the event to Virginia for the very first time.

"The community getting involved, having nine people from the area go up and give the presentation, really showed them that 'wow, they really want these games in Lynchburg at Liberty University," Lampman said.

WDBJ7 was the only local station on hand when the National Congress of State Games toured Liberty University in May. Members of the organization were impressed that LU could host so many different events on its campus.

"We want to have an olympic feel to our sports, with opening ceremonies and being able to watch multiple sports without having to travel too far," said Dan Duffy, board president for the National Congress of State Games, during a May interview with WDBJ7.

A year ago this week, organizers of the Virginia Commonwealth Games announced plans to bring their event to the LU campus.

Lynchburg leaders say they're trying to make the city a destination for major sports competitions.

"We are actively going after that market, so I think you will see additional sporting events coming to Lynchburg in the next few years," said Sergei Troubetzkoy, tourism director for the city of Lynchburg.

The State Games of America are an Olympic-style event held every two years. Next year's games will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Lynchburg beat out two other cities for the right to host the games in 2019 and 2021.

To read WDBJ7's story about the State Games of America announcement, visit: http://www.wdbj7.com/content/news/WATCH-LIVE-2-pm-sports-396157901.html

NOTE: A previous version of this story indicated the State Games of America would be held in Lynchburg in 2019 and 2021. The games will only be held in Lynchburg in 2019.