When the Oklahoma River hosts the 2014 Canoe Marathon World Championships, it will be the first river in the U.S. to have the honor.
"The vision of the city leaders has been correct: Build it and they will come," said Shaun Caven, head coach of the Oklahoma City National High Performance Center and OCU canoe/kayak teams.
Cities like Rome (2012) and Copenhagen, Denmark (2013), vie for the honor to host the event's approximately 300 athletes from around the world.
"The international paddling community will get to experience why this city is our paddle-sports capital of the USA," said Joe Jacobi, USA Canoe/Kayak executive director.
The canoe marathon is a flat-water, long-distance race that includes carrying, or "portaging," kayaks over land. The race is 20 kilometers for men and 15 kilometers for women.
"To have an event coming to Oklahoma City that will be hosted in Rome and Copenhagen in the years leading up to the Oklahoma River race truly underscores the remarkable success we are having with the development of the Oklahoma River," said Mike Knopp, Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation executive director and head coach of the Oklahoma City University rowing team.