MINNEAPOLIS — A four-day skiing festival that would have brought athletes from around the world to Minneapolis has been canceled, with the organizers citing the health of the community as a reason.
In a press release, John Munger, executive director of the Loppet Foundation said, "In keeping with updated information from the Minnesota Department of Health and after consulting with medical advisors, we are prioritizing the health and safety of our community, fans, athletes, staff and volunteers involved in these events."
The Fastenal Parallel 45 Festival and World Cup was to be held March 14-17 in Minneapolis, featuring skiing, music and events for all ages. According to the event website, the race was also slated to be the final sprint race for the 2019-2020 World Cup season. It also would have been the first World Cup in the United States in 19 years.
Munger writes, "We know this is not easy news for anyone - from volunteers and sponsors who have dedicated their time, talent and resources; to the athletes who have spent years training; to our staff who have poured heart and soul into preparations; to the thousands of folks who were excited about participating and spectating."
Part of the inspiration for bringing this event to Minnesota was Olympic gold medalist Jessie Diggins, who hails from Afton, Minnesota. During the 2018 Winter Olympics, she and teammate Kikkan Randall captured a gold medal in the women’s team sprint, becoming the first American cross-country skiers to win a gold.
While many events across the country are being canceled due to coronavirus worries, the Minnesota Department of Health has not taken steps to prohibit large gatherings of people.
KARE 11 is a media sponsor of the Fastenal Parallel 45 Winter Festival.
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