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City prepares to host Olympic Trials

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Water rushes downstream Friday in the Oklahoma River. City officials are working to control the current before the U.S. Olympic Trials for canoe and kayak begin next week on the river. Water rushes downstream Friday in the Oklahoma River. City officials are working to control the current before the U.S. Olympic Trials for canoe and kayak begin next week on the river.
USA's Carrie Johnson, front, drives to the finish ahead of USA's Kari-Jean McKenzie, center, and USA's Maggie Hogan, top, in a heat of the women's 200m kayak in the Oklahoma Centennial Regatta Festival, in Oklahoma City, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2007. (AP Photo) USA's Carrie Johnson, front, drives to the finish ahead of USA's Kari-Jean McKenzie, center, and USA's Maggie Hogan, top, in a heat of the women's 200m kayak in the Oklahoma Centennial Regatta Festival, in Oklahoma City, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2007. (AP Photo)

By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9

Heavy rains this week have created potential problems for a major sporting event scheduled for next week.

The U.S. Olympic Trials for canoe and kayak are scheduled for April 18-20 on the Oklahoma River.

Athletes compete in Beijing in either canoe or kayak will be attending.

"Many of them have been training a good part of their life for this moment on the Oklahoma River," said Mike Knopp with the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation. "They've actually moved the event from San Diego to here because of the excitement the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Canoe-Kayak sees for Oklahoma City and their interest in our venue."

Workers are preparing Regatta Park to host the event, but officials are concerned about the condition of the water in the river, said John Rhodes with Oklahoma City Public Works.

The river is muddy, debris-laden, and flowing fast.

"We saw a steady rise from its normal 200 to 300 cubic feet per second flow on the river up to 6,000 CFS just last night," Rhodes said.

Strong current and heavy debris forced the cancellation of the dragboat nationals last summer, but officials said they think that will happened this year.

"We're seeing some small pieces that will have to be cleared out, but most of it's moving on downstream, and we don't have the huge trees and limbs and logs that we saw last year," Rhodes said.

As for the current, officials said they should be able to minimize it by draining the basins behind the upstream dams.

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