World-class athletes aren't strangers to the IUPUI campus. Thanks to the multitude of high-profile competitions staged in Indianapolis — many of them hosted in part or totally by IUPUI and its Sport Complex — the world's finest swimmers, divers and track athletes have become familiar with IUPUI's facilities.
The RCA Championships grew out of the U.S. Men's Hardcourt Championships and became a premier preparation step for the U.S. Open Tennis Championships beginning in 1988, when the traditional clay courts that had defined the Indianapolis Tennis Center were replaced by Deco-Turf II, the same surface used at the U.S. Open in its Flushing, N.Y. site.
The Clay Court Championships came to the Indianapolis Tennis Center (then known as the Indianapolis Sports Center) in 1979, offering 13 acres of competition-ready clay courts and a state-of-the-art 9,000-seat stadium court. The Clay Courts were a staple of the Indianapolis sports calendar through 1987, when the IUPUI city was resurfaced and began hosting the U.S. Men's Hardcourt Championships.
The 1987 Pan-American Games — nicknamed PAXI for the 10th games — marked the first time a U.S. city had hosted the quadrennial games since 1959, when the Chicago was the venue. The event involved nearly 4,500 athletes from 38 nations in 22 separate sports over a 17-day period, based on Olympic-style competition for athletes from throughout the western hemisphere.
As a host of the Games, Indianapolis is part of an illustrious roster of sites, including Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Winnipeg and San Juan.
IUPUI was heavily involved in activities in and surrounding the games. In conjunction with the sporting event, IUPUI hosted a national conference on "Sports In American Life." University Place Conference Center and Hotel hosted the CBS Sports broadcasting crew, including veteran sportscaster Brent Musburger. IUPUI also helped train many of the 30,000 Indiana volunteers, providing language training for guides and translators. And University Archives is the official repository for all records of the Pan-American Games.
IUPUI's world-class sports facilities came on line just in time to help Indianapolis host the National Sports Festival, an eight-day event in July of 1982 that featured competition in 33 sports.
The event, which ran in all non-Olympic years from 1978 through 1985, was created as part of the training process for American athletes preparing for Olympic competition.
The campus hosted core competitions in swimming, driving, track & field and more as the city tested its new facilities and the organizational structure that Indianapolis had made the foundation for its goal to become the "Amateur Sports Capital of the World."
That organizational ability helped Indianapolis host more than 200 major events — many of them national and international &mdash in the more than two decades since the initiative was launched in the late 1970s.