By SVERRE BAKKE
Nine days of competition, nine athletic events, 1000s of athletes, 10,000s of spectators, $100,000 in prize money.
That's just some of what can be expected from the second Subaru Gorge Games Outdoor World Championships, which get underway Saturday, July 14, and wrap up Sunday, July 22.
The 2001 Gorge Games -- the fifth in a series that started six years ago -- will be based again in Hood River, but under the ownership and management of Octagon Marketing, a Stamford, Conn.-based sports and event marketing firm. Octagon, which operated the 2000 games in partnership with event founder Peg Lalor, purchased the rights from Lalor last year.
Octagon plans to continue the games in the spirit in which they began in 1996 while working to uphold the games' reputation as the ultimate outdoor sports and lifestyle festival.
The National Geographic Adventure Village, which opens to the public on Wednesday, July 18, at the Hood River Marina, will serve as the official headquarters for the weeklong games. It also will be the hub of sundry recreational activities, from outdoor gear demonstrations and product sampling, to clinics, kids games, the new Wind, Water and Mountain interactive play stations, and the Banff Mountain Film Festival.
In addition, the village will host one of the 10 athletic competitions (climbing), as well as the finish line for the games' big finale, the outdoor adventure race, on July 22. The adventure race -- a grueling 24-hour, 85-mile race from Government Camp to Hood River -- is new to the games. It replaces the triathlon in the lineup of competitions.
While the triathlon won't be back, NBC-affiliated film crews will. They will be shooting footage of the games for programs that will air later this summer, on Aug. 26 and Sept. 2.
Events scheduled on the side of the Columbia River include: trail running, July 15, Burdoin Mountain; freestyle windsurfing, July 16-20 (wind permitting), Hatchery State Park, Columbia River; and extreme kayaking, July 18 and 20, BZ Corner, White Salmon River.
For a complete calendar of events and listing of activities, pick up a copy of the official program or visit www.gorgegames.com on the Internet.