The three cities made the shortlist released on the weekend by the WTC, which owns the event. Four other Canada cities —Vernon, Kamloops, Victoria and Calgary — did not make the cut.
Penticton hosted the famed event for the last three decades, but let it go to start hosting a Challenge Triathlon instead. The Okanagan city hosted its last Ironman in August.
Kelowna went the extra mile in making its pitch, according to the city’s mayor, Walter Gray, who took a delegation to WTC headquarters in Florida to make a presentation last week.
Gray says he thinks the presentation went over well, but said, "They were quite careful not to tip their hand."
He says the trip probably cost the city about $5,000 and is money well spent.
"This is an economic development, not just a sports and recreation investment."
Despite Kelowna's extra effort, Whistler Mayor Karen Wilhelm-Morden says she still likes her city's chances.
"This is what we do, we host large sporting events," she said. "Obviously we hosted the largest one with the 2010 Games. We're feeling very optimistic and postive about it."
A winner is expected to be announced on Oct. 10.