In a low – key ribbon cutting ceremony at 9:30 this morning, the United States Olympic Committee officially moved into its city – funded headquarters building at 27 South Tejon. There were no bands, no banners, no Olympic athletes, no children’s choir singing the Olympic Anthem – just Mayor Rivera, El Pomar CEO Bill Hybl, newly appointed USOC boss Scott Blackmun, half a dozen media types, and a large contingent from the Chamber. Vice Mayor Larry Small was in attendance, but I didn’t see any other council members.
Blackmun gave a graceful little speech thanking Council and the citizens of Colorado Springs, who had paid $25 million or so for the building.
Rivera, as is his wont, passed the buck by noting that when he was first elected mayor then – Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell had told him “Whatever you do, don’t lose the USOC.” Rivera certainly kept his promise.
The entrance lobby is small, cramped, and strangely undistinguished. No exterior signage is yet in place that identifies it as the headquarters of the USOC. No rings adorn the interior; instead, three flat – screen TVs immediately to the left of the entrance feature historic Olympic footage, just like the bar half a block away at the Ritz.
I left before Hybl spoke. I’ve heard Bill make dozens of speeches, and they’ve all been polished, intelligent, and appropriate. Like a Chauncey Billups free throw, you don’t have to watch – you know he’s going to nail it.
Walking back to the CSBJ offices on a bright, cool morning, it occurred to me that we’re all incredibly fortunate to live in such a place and just as fortunate to be downtown. So even though I’d rather that the city had driven a better bargain with their Olympian majesties, I’m glad to welcome them as our new neighbors, with one caveat.
Guys, just remember that you’re the new kids in town – so don’t hog the best seats at the Ritz bar.
Show some respect…