USOC celebrates sports culture

As the official headquarters of the U.S. Olympic Committee, Colorado Springs will host nine events commemorating Olympic Day.  The four-day fest will climax with a city-wide celebration on Saturday at the Olympic Training Center campus.

The Community Appreciation Day Celebration is scheduled for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The city joins more than 250 cities in countries throughout the world and their national Olympic committees in annual the  Olympic Day celebration, which starts today.

Local festivities got underway on Tuesday when Jim Scherr, a 1988 Olympian in the sport of wrestling and the former CEO of the USOC, spoke to kids at the Briargate YMCA.

Today, Mayor Lionel Rivera presented an Olympic Day proclamation from Meadows Parks Community Center at 10:30 a.m. and was joined by Olympian Chris Coleman (bobsled) and Paralympian Rudy Garcia-Tolson (swimming).

On Friday, Olympic and Paralympic athletes will participate in the 2010 Fan Fest and Downtown Street Festival as part of the 88th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.  Athletes in attendance will include 2010 Olympian Emily Azevedo, 2008 Olympic weightlifter Carissa Gump and various athletes from the sports of boxing, bobsled and karate.

USOC Chief Executive Officer Scott Blackmun said the celebration was the organization’s way of saying thank you to the citizens of this community “to share with them the athletes and sports that make up the Olympic Movement and to come together in the spirit of Olympism.”

The free event takes place at the Olympic Training Center and Boulder Park and will feature autograph sessions with 2010 U.S. Olympic Team medalists and other USOTC Olympic and Paralympic resident athletes; live sport demonstrations featuring different sports including BMX, freestyle skiing aerialists, fencing, wrestling tennis and taekwondo; the Tyson Fitness Challenge Zone; the opportunity to take the U.S. Olympic 5-Ring Challenge at the 24 Hour Fitness booth; a live band; free Coca-Cola in special commemorative aluminum bottles and Coca-Cola Olympic tee shirts; prize giveaways; popcorn; balloons and face-painting; and a U.S. Olympic merchandise sale.

In addition to the nine Colorado Springs events taking place, Monument, Littleton and Denver will also participate with Olympic Day activities of their own.

Among the Olympic athletes taking part in the Olympic Day celebrations in Colorado Springs and along the Front Range include:

  • Jeret “Speedy” Peterson, 2010 Olympic silver medalist in freestyle aerials
  • Shannon Bahrke, Two-time Olympic silver medalist in freestyle moguls
  • Rachael Flatt, 2010 Olympian in figure skating
  • Emily Azevedo, 2010 Olympian in bobsled
  • Carissa Gump, 2008 Olympian in weightlifting
  • Jim Scherr, 1988 Olympian in wrestling
  • Cindy Stinger, three-time Olympian in team handball
  • John Register, two-time Paralympian in swimming/athletics and 2000 Paralympic gold medalist
  • Rudy Garcia-Tolson, two-time Olympic gold medalist in swimming
  • Chris Coleman, two-time Olympian in bobsled
  • Michelle Farrell, 1984 Olympic silver medalist in gymnastics
  • Ryan St. Onge, two-time Olympian in freestyle aerials
  • Gerald Hayden, two-time Paralympian in alpine skiing
  • Nikko Landeros, 2010 Paralympic gold medalist in sled hockey
  • Kathy Rex, 1988 Olympian in team handball
  • and Ralph Green, two-time Paralympian in alpine skiing

Olympic Day events set to take place in Colorado Springs and along the Front Range include:

June 23

Downtown YMCA – 10 a.m. – Olympic weightlifting hopeful Jackie Berube will speak on Olympic and Paralympic values.

Meadows Park Community Center – 10:30 a.m. – Mayor Lionel Rivera along with Olympian Chris Coleman and Paralympian Rudy Garcia Tolson will be on hand to start kick off the center’s Olympic Day.

Southeast YMCA – 2 p.m. – Paralympic gold medalist John Register will speak on Olympic and Paralympic values.

Olympic Training Center – 5:30 p.m. – Two-time Olympian Cindy Stinger will be part of the opening ceremonies for FIBA America’s  U-18 Championship taking place this weekend. Stinger will read the Olympic oath with competitors to commemorate Olympic Day.

Sundance Mountain Athletic Center (Monument) – 1988 Olympians Cindy Stinger and Kathy Rex will speak on Olympic values to women’s developmental team handball squads training in Colorado Springs.

June 24

Tri Lakes YMCA – 11 a.m. – 1988 Olympic silver medalist Michelle Farrell will speak on Olympic and Paralympic values.

June 25

2010 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Fan Fest & Downtown Street Festival on Tejon St. – 5 p.m. – Olympic and Paralympic athletes including 2010 Olympian Emily Azevedo and 2008 Olympian Carissa Gump will participate.

June 26

The USOC will pay tribute to its hometown Colorado Springs and to Olympic Day with a Community Appreciation Day Celebration on Saturday, June 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This free community event taking place at the Olympic Training Center and Boulder Park and will feature: autograph sessions with 2010 U.S. Olympic Team medalists and other USOTC Olympic and Paralympic resident athletes; live sport demonstrations featuring different sports including BMX, freestyle skiing aerialists, fencing, wrestling tennis and taekwondo; the Tyson Fitness Challenge Zone; the opportunity to take the U.S. Olympic 5-Ring Challenge at the 24 Hour Fitness booth; a live band; free Coca-Cola in special commemorative aluminum bottles and Coca-Cola Olympic tee shirts; prize giveaways; popcorn; balloons and face-painting; and a U.S. Olympic merchandise sale.

June 27

Lily Gulch Rec Center (Littleton) – 1 p.m. – Two-time Paralympian Ralph Green will speak on Olympic and Paralympic values in conjunction with a volleyball clinic taking place.

June 28

Tutt Boys & Girls Club – 1 p.m. – 2008 Olympic weightlifter Carissa Gump will speak on Olympic and Paralympic values.