We’re the proud home of the USOC, but who would know?

Anything going on this week?

Nah, just being the hometown of the United States Olympic Committee and having the Winter Games happening on the same continent.

Not that anyone here can tell. Colorado Springs isn’t sporting any golden rings or staging any celebrations, nothing to declare that that this is the hub of the country’s commitment to the Olympics. The city just gave the USOC $48 million to $54 million (depending on whom you talk to) to stay here, so why are the Games brightening local living rooms but invisible elsewhere?

Oh, right. On the city’s Web site is a picture of the rings on a strange-looking fireman’s shield with the caption “Proud Home of the USOC.” Under the icon are pictures of snowplows, paving vehicles and utility trucks.

Anybody see any other signs or symbols of hometown pride at this Olympic moment?

Shouldn’t someone here have tapped someone else on the shoulder and said, “You know, there’s this event in Vancouver, B.C., and, um, do you think that maybe we should at least drape a banner across a highway overpass to, you know, let people see that we’re aware of it?”

And even if the city officially ignores the Winter Olympics, shouldn’t there be some permanent recognition of what Colorado Springs means to the world’s largest sports festival?

The Griswold family, driving through on another disastrous summer vacation, would have to do some searching to discover the USOC is based here. No rings on the welcome plates on I-25 at either end of the city. No gleaming, glittering hoops atop the tallest buildings. Nope, not even a single pennant flying from a downtown light pole.

Not only have many Olympians lived in the Springs while training, but Cheyenne Mountain High School senior Rachael Flatt is competing in the women’s ice skating events. But if you have never made your way to Memorial Hospital from the east, you wouldn’t know the training facility even existed.

In the initial contract to build the USOC headquarters downtown, the city was supposed to get the rights to use the USOC trademark rings as a promotional tool. Now, that may have been several contract re-writes in the past. Or did someone drop the ball … er, the ring?

Once again the city has missed a promotional opportunity. Banners, pennants, balloons and other baubles should be flying from the rooftops, proclaiming a city’s pride in its Olympic role.

(Oh yeah: Who would pay for them?)

I trust that Scott Blackmun, the new CEO of the USOC will find a way to connect the USOC more with the community. After the USOC finally makes the corner of Tejon and Colorado home, it will be much more integrated into downtown. That will be a start. According to Mike Moran, media consultant to the Sports Corp. — who is in Vancouver B.C. “Blackmun also took time in the hectic days just ahead of his departure for Vancouver to thoughtfully send an important message to his (and the USOC’s) hometown of Colorado Springs that he was bringing the USOC’s most important annual gathering of the Olympic family, the 2010 U.S. Olympic Assembly, to the city in September with more than 600 important attendees …

he was also very clear in statements to local business leaders and others that his goal was to again make the city proud of being the home of the American Olympic Movement and the USOC in the months and years ahead.”

Good on you Scott.

Anything happen last week?

Oh, yeah, now that was a celebration. The USOC and the Springs got a big national splash by hosting an episode of “The Biggest Loser.”

Lon Matejczyk is publisher of the Colorado Springs Business Journal.

12 Responses to We’re the proud home of the USOC, but who would know?

  1. Just goes to show you that we need new Thought Leaders for this city. We have a bunch of people that sit around picking their noses and wouldn’t know an opportunity if it stepped out and said “Hey I am an opportunity” for you to promote the city where the USOC resides. Maybe since we stopped watering our parks, turned off our lights, closed down community center, cut fire and police our own city people don’t feel it is safe for others to stop by.. I mean we are getting National recognition for the decisions of the City Council.

    Kim Kolb
    February 19, 2010 at 9:28 am

  2. I totally agree, Lon! I for one am proud to live in the city that is home to the USOC but we as a community could do a much better job of announcing it. Those are all great ideas and I hope Scott can get some of them moving.

    Etienne
    February 19, 2010 at 11:24 am

  3. Lon, I just want to point out that we do indeed have a hometown hero competing in the 2010 Winter Olympics: Rachel Flatt. She won the 2010 Women’s U.S. Figure Skating Championships and is a member of the US Women’s Olympic Figure Skating Team. Ms. Flatt attends Cheyenne Mountain High School.

    Interesting to note that The Gazette did a front page spread on Steamboat Springs recently and the impact of that town’s Winter Sports Club in creating Olympic competitors. I was in Steamboat Springs the first week of February and it hosted a send-off parade for its 17 athletes competing in the 2010 Winter Olympics, complete with banners hanging from street lamp posts.

    Brenda Speer
    February 19, 2010 at 12:45 pm

  4. To clarify my comment, although the online article mentions Rachel Flatt, the print edition of the CSBJ did not. The print edition stated: “Granted the city might not have a hometown hero competing in the games….”

    Brenda Speer
    February 19, 2010 at 12:50 pm

  5. Agreed Lon. I have lived here 8 years and from running the Colorado Springs Young Professionals I have had the pleasure of meeting many of the great minds in Colorado Springs and experiencing many great things.

    But the OTC isn’t one of them.

    Aside from visits to USA Cycling before they moved, the OTC is one place I’ve just never been. There is no big events held there that are “must do” events each year. The great events that the individual NGO’s hold are unknown by the public and often left un-reported by our local news sources….which seem more pre-occupied with glorifying violence downtown and pinning it on nightclubs than reporting anything of worth.

    Glad you brought this to light. I say we support things like cycling, rugby, and cricket instead of the OTC if they don’t want to be apart of our community. But I hope your right, maybe the new leadership will reach out to those of us who can help in the community.

    Jon Severson
    February 22, 2010 at 11:09 am

  6. Let’s get our priorities straight here. If funds are limited, do we throw a parade or keep police officers on the street? Do we pay for a big media splash or turn on some street lights? Kim Kolb nailed it … we need new Thought Leaders. We also need leaders who recognize necessities versus niceties.

    Falconlady
    February 22, 2010 at 11:32 am

  7. Rather expensive price to simply pay for a Logo! Where are all those geniuses @ the CS Sports Corp? The lack of Sports Marketing expertise in this “Sports Town” is rather appalling.

    RJF
    February 22, 2010 at 11:36 am

  8. Nationally……This city is more known for Focus (nice sign as people drive into Colorado Springs) & religious extremism. This way people are warned of our intolerance as they enter the city from the north. Wouldn’t it be nice to be known for the USOC and the OTC! I know I am proud of our Olympic ties!!

    Terri
    February 22, 2010 at 11:45 am

  9. I totally agree with you Lon. That is part of the problem of the city, there is no clarity about the Vision of the City of Colorado Springs. It’s actually pretty sad, but hopefully sooner or later the city will be run like a Business and not like an emotional roller-coaster on which favors are being given. There is a lot to improve, but the political egos need to change.

    Peter
    February 22, 2010 at 11:50 am

  10. I agree we miss more opportunities than we take, all in all it would be nice to thing we are as forward thinking as our parts. However that’s the point.

    Our parts (different neighborhoods, political parties, age, social status) whatever the case may be are what allows us to step on ourselves. We have one of the greatest training grounds for Olympic athletes and one of the best natural playgrounds for all of us who wish or are trying to be athletes in whatever goal we choose. There are a lot of organizations all trying to do well, focusing on the goal of making the world a better place in their own way. Again this is my point.

    We have all these fantastic people who have out of this world ideas and drive, but we lack a unifier that allows us to succeed as a whole city.

    I can sit here as easily as anyone else and blame everyone else. But really the big question is what am I doing to make it better? What can we do together to make it better?

    I’m not one for cliche inspirational posters, but change starts within. If we want theses things let’s make them happen, we want bright minds, young families, businesses and we want harmony amongst the private and military sectors to work together as one. As my older brother would tell me when I was younger…
    How does it feel to want?

    Again my question remains? What are we actually doing to solve it?

    Sean Holveck
    February 22, 2010 at 11:57 am

  11. What do you expect? We live in a city that is totally hampered by Tabor and the cheapness of our populous that they can’t afford to recognize the Olympic association, or light streetlights, or fix roads. Until we can get rid of citizen amendments to our state constitution, we’ll never be able to live up to the level that we could achieve!

    When WILL Doug Bruce move and louse up another state?

    Phil Kramer
    February 22, 2010 at 3:38 pm

  12. FYI _ There are 20 times more Olympic banners in Doha, Qatar than in Colorado Springs – and that is because they are announcing they are APPLYING to host the 2020 Olympics. Of course their roads budget this year is 1 billion dollars….

    Jane Hammoud
    February 23, 2010 at 4:55 am