CLEVELAND-- For the next two weeks, Cleveland will play host to the largest multi-sport athletic event in the United States this year.
The 2013 Senior Games are about to begin.
11,000 athletes, ranging in age from 50 to 101, are coming to Cleveland to compete.
Meredith Scerba, the Executive Director of the 2013 Senior Games said they represent all 50 states. "With 11,000 athletes, it actually makes us larger in number of participants than the London Olympics,” Scerba said.
It also marks the first time the newly built Cleveland Convention Center is hosting an event. It is one of twenty places where the Senior Games are being played.
"So, to be able to open up with something as dramatic and as exciting as the national senior summer games and to welcome thousands of people, in addition to being fun and entertaining,” said Dave Johnson with the Cleveland Convention Center.
Badminton, volleyball, pickleball and shuffleboard will be played at the Convention Center.
“We also have golf all the way to Quail Hollow. We have tennis in Mayfield Heights. So we really have a widespread of sports throughout our community,” Scerba added.
Outside on Mall B, the stage is being set and other preparations are underway for the opening festival that take place Friday afternoon. The senior games will have their own version of the torch lighting ceremony.
30,000 people are expected to take part in the Senior Games. All the events are free.
And, while the athletes will be going for the gold, Cleveland is expected to be the big winner. The Senior Games are expected to bring a $35-million spike to the local economy.
There are road closures because of the games. CLICK HERE for details.