12 Days of COS #6: Colorado Springs continues to solidify itself as "Olympic City USA"

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – From the continued development of City for Champions’ sports and place-making infrastructure to hosting several world-class sporting events and increased community involvement from Team USA athletes all across the city, Colorado Springs continued to solidify itself as “Olympic City USA” in 2018. 

“This year Colorado Springs celebrated its 40th anniversary as the home of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic movements, and we couldn’t be more proud of Team USA’s performance at the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018,” said Mayor John Suthers. “Once again, the athletes of Team USA inspired our nation not only with their outstanding athletic performances but with their demonstration of the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect – values our community strives to exhibit in all that we do.”

Below is a snapshot of Olympic City USA highlights in 2018.

City for Champions developments

Significant construction progress was made on the U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame, which broke ground in 2017. Not only did the external structure of the building take shape, but in-depth plans for the building’s interior were revealed. Expected to welcome more than 350,000 annual visitors, the museum will create one-of-a-kind experiences for visitors, offer state-of-the-art technology for its exhibits, and house one of the most complete sets of Olympic artifacts in the world thanks to the generous donation of Gordy Crawford, chair of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Foundation. The museum also announced Chris Liedel, former chief financial officer of the Smithsonian Institute, as its CEO. 

In October, officials broke ground on the University of Colorado Colorado Springs Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center. The facility is expected to bring world-class sports professionals to Colorado Springs to help service the existing sports ecosystem, as well as an estimated 1,000 additional students to UCCS. One of its key services will be performance and recovery programs for Paralympic athletes.

The Colorado Sports and Events Center was announced in July. The project consists of two new venues: a 10,000-seat stadium that will be the home of the Switchbacks FC, and a 3,000-seat arena that will host Colorado College’s ice hockey team. The two sites will also provide prime locations in downtown Colorado Springs for local, national and international events. 

New and returning sporting events

In February, the PyeongChang Olympic Downtown Celebration kicked off the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. More than 15,000 spectators enjoyed the lighting of the Olympic City USA cauldron by Eric Heiden, the most decorated speed skater in history, as well as international music, Korean-themed cultural activities, and taekwondo and Muay Thai demonstrations.

July brought the world’s best senior golfers to The Broadmoor for the 39th U.S. Senior Open. The nationally-televised championship attracted more than 135,000 spectators, 65 percent of whom do not reside in Colorado Springs. 

In September, more than 110 members of the 1968 U.S. Olympic Team convened in Colorado Springs for the 50th anniversary of the Olympic Games Mexico City 1968. The reunion welcomed acclaimed athletes such as Tommie Smith, Dick Fosbury, and Debbie Meyer Weber to Olympic City USA.

The Air Force Academy hosted the Department of Defense Warrior Games in early June for approximately 250 wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans, representing six service branches. The nine-day event, which opened with a free Kelly Clarkson concert emceed by Jon Stewart, welcomed thousands of spectators.

Community involvement 

More than 40 Olympic and Paralympic athletes visited local community centers, youth sports programs, hospitals, organizations and schools. During these visits, Team USA athletes spoke to the importance of health and fitness, shared their personal journeys through sport, and emphasized the importance of the Olympic and Paralympic values and how they can be applied to every aspect of your life.

In April and May, more than 11,000 students from 45 elementary schools participated in Olympic Day. The annual initiative utilizes field days to highlight the importance of movement, the spirit of Olympism, and the Olympic and Paralympic values.

The Young Champion Ambassador program, a high school leadership program that partners with Colorado Springs’ sister city Ancient Olympia, Greece, selected Vanessa Addison of Rampart High School as the Olympic City USA representative who will visit Ancient Olympia in early 2019. Addison was selected from more than 500 students.

For more information about Olympic City USA, visit https://coloradosprings.gov/olympic-city-usa or follow @OlympicCityUSA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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