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.