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Hail damaged the 2008 Olympic Trials building — Michael Phelps among evacuated

Monday, June 27th 2022, 4:30 am - On this day in weather history, the U.S. Olympic swimming trials were delayed due to a storm.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


On Friday, June 27, 2008, the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb., was damaged by a severe storm. At the time, hundreds of swimmers were practising for the United States Olympic trials. One of the swimmers was Michael Phelps.

Around 600 swimmers were in the building when a storm hit. They were instructed to move into the interior hallways. The swimmers remained in the hallways for a couple of hours until the storm cleared. The practice was cancelled for the rest of the night.

Qwest Center in Omaha, Nebraska *"Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb." Courtesy of Skinzfan23/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0*

While everyone in the building was taking cover, the storm produced heavy rain, strong winds, and damaging hail.

The storm burst a 12-inch pipe and sent around hundreds of thousands of gallons of water rushing down. The water overflowed into the centre's seating area and onto the pool deck.

Large chunks of hail damaged the building, as well, but not beyond repair.

By Saturday, most of the debris had been cleaned up, and at 6:30 a.m., the swimmers returned. The eight-day event was held to decide which of the 1,250 swimmers would compete on the U.S. Olympic team.

Michael Phelps wins 8th gold medal *"Michael Phelps celebrates with his teammates after winning his eighth gold medal." Courtesy of Bryan Allison/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 2.0*

That summer, Phelps won eight gold medals, breaking a 1972 record for most gold medals won in a single Olympic Games.

To learn more about the U.S. Olympic swimming trials and the formation of hail, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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Thumbnail: Courtesy of Pixabay

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