COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – May 1, 2018 – The United States Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame announced today that Christopher Liedel has been named chief executive officer following a national search conducted by RSR Partners and will step into his role officially on May 15, 2018.
“Chris Liedel is the perfect combination of experienced leader, entrepreneur and strategic thinker that we need to lead the U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame forward,” said Dave Ogrean, chairman of the museum board. “He will take us through the construction of the museum and into the opening and operations. We are thrilled that Chris has agreed to lead the team and we welcome him to the Colorado Springs community.”
“U.S. Olympians and Paralympians are relentless in their pursuit of excellence and achievement. They inspire us with their courage and dedication, and deserve a cultural destination that brings to life their journey,” said Liedel. “One of the most compelling facets of this iconic destination will be that the experience is constantly evolving. The very nature of the Olympic and Paralympic Games gives us new perspective to share every two years; a new lens with which to view the world. I am humbled and honored to be part of this team that will bring to life a special place showcasing the historical scholarship and national pride surrounding the Olympic and Paralympic Games – one that transcends sport and holistically honors Team USA athletes.”
Liedel served for nearly six years as president of Smithsonian Enterprises, the revenue-producing arm of the Smithsonian Institution. Before that, he was with National Geographic for 16 years, becoming the executive vice president and chief financial officer. At Smithsonian Enterprises, he had oversight of the key commercial activities of the Smithsonian, including Smithsonian Media, retail, e-commerce, educational and consumer-branded products, and food services. During his tenure, the organization saw significant growth in revenue and earnings performance.
His board affiliations have included the Nobel Prize Education Fund; the National Philanthropic Trust, which he chaired from 2005 to 2008; EdWeek Magazine; and the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research Foundation. He currently serves on the board of the PGA of America, and previously served on the executive committee of the United States Golf Association, where he was chair of the museum committee.
Liedel, a resident of Vienna, Virginia, earned his bachelor’s degree at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, and his master’s degree at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He is a Wharton Fellow from the University of Pennsylvania.
About the United States Olympic Museum
The U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame honors the ideals and documents the history of the United States Olympic and Paralympic movements and celebrates the achievements of its athletes. The Museum broke ground in June of 2017 and is under construction in downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado. Part of the $250.6 million City for Champions initiative, the 60,000-square-foot building will embody the forward-looking values of Team USA, with highly interactive exhibit space, a state-of-the-art theater, gift shop, café and broadcast studio.
For more information about the United States Olympic Museum visit: www.usolympicmuseum.org
To follow the USOM on social media: www.twitter.com/usolympicmuseum
For more information contact:
U.S. Olympic Museum organizers cleared another hurdle Thursday when a state panel approved details of a multimillion-dollar loan for the downtown Colorado Springs project and how that money would be spent.
Meeting in Denver, the Colorado Economic Development Commission adopted a resolution spelling out the loan plan, which helps pave the way for museum supporters to obtain a critical piece of the project's funding.
Next up: The Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority will meet Wednesday and is expected to take similar action in approving details of the loan.
"It really means that we're almost to reality," said Wynne Palermo, the authority's board chairwoman.
At issue is a proposed $75 million museum that would showcase exhibits and displays highlighting the nation's Olympic and Paralympic movements. The 60,000-square-foot venue would be built on donated land at Sierra Madre Street and Vermijo Avenue in southwest downtown - a few blocks from the U.S. Olympic Committee's headquarters.
The museum is part of City for Champions - a series of tourism projects designed to attract thousands of new visitors to Colorado Springs.
In December 2013, the Colorado Economic Development Commission agreed to make up to $120.5 million in state sales tax revenue available for City for Champions projects over 30 years. That funding was authorized under Colorado's Regional Tourism Act, which was approved by state lawmakers to encourage communities to come up with projects that would attract more visitors.
Organizers of the nonprofit Olympic Museum are relying on two key funding sources for their project - the loan and private donations from individuals, foundations and other groups.
Under the loan plan OK'd by the Economic Development Commission, the Urban Renewal Authority - designated as the City for Champions financing entity - would issue $39 million in bonds. Of that amount, $26.2 million would go to the museum and other proceeds would help fund a series of public improvements in southwest downtown.
Three banks have agreed to purchase the bonds - effectively lending money for the museum. The bonds would be repaid with state sales tax money, with 52 percent of those funds earmarked for the museum under formulas approved by the Economic Development Commission when it backed City for Champions in 2013.
As part of the panel's action, it also was required to OK any plan for bonds that would be paid off with state funds.
Meanwhile, museum officials said this week they've raised private contributions or commitments totaling $46.3 million. That leaves them about $2.5 million short of the private funds they need.
The loan being provided by the three banks requires the museum to complete its fundraising by March 31. Museum officials have said repeatedly they'll meet that deadline.
Assuming everything falls into place, the loan would be finalized March 31, and proceeds at that time would be turned over to the Urban Renewal Authority to help pay for future expenses related to the museum's development.
Narrowing the gap: Olympic Museum organizers in Colorado Springs say they're inching closer to fundraising goalFeb 25 2017
Written by Rich Laden on February 25, 2017 for The Gazette
Faced with next month's deadline to raise private funds for their project, U.S. Olympic Museum organizers now say they're just $4.2 million short and closing in on their goal.
Meanwhile, museum officials and the Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority are finalizing details of a loan with a trio of banks that will provide another key funding piece to finance the museum. That loan also will help fund a series of public improvements in southwest downtown, where the museum will be built.
The loan is driving the museum organizers' sense of urgency; as a condition of obtaining the financing, the banks are requiring museum officials to complete their private fundraising by March 31.
B.J. Hybl, treasurer of the nonprofit Olympic Museum's board and co-chair of its finance committee, told the Urban Renewal Authority last week that museum officials remain "very optimistic" they'll meet next month's deadline.
"There's a lot of decisions being made with organizations on funding, so I think we'll get there," Hybl said of groups being courted for donations.
The museum is part of City for Champions - a series of tourism projects planned in the Springs that are being counted on to help attract thousands of new visitors to the area. In December 2013, the Colorado Economic Development Commission agreed to provide funding for the projects under the state's Regional Tourism Act.
The museum is envisioned as a 60,000-square-foot showcase for the nation's Olympic and Paralympic movements, using displays and exhibits; it would be built at Vermijo Avenue and Sierra Madre Street on a donated site in southwest downtown.
In addition to private funds to pay for the museum, project officials and the Urban Renewal Authority - the state-designated City for Champions funding entity - are borrowing money from UMB Bank, whose parent company is based in Kansas City, Mo. Local financial institutions FirstBank and Academy Bank also are participating in the loan.
The banks have agreed to lend $39 million by purchasing bonds that will be issued by the Urban Renewal Authority. The bonds would be repaid with state sales tax money provided through the Regional Tourism Act.
Of the $39 million, $26.2 million will go for the museum, with the rest earmarked for southwest downtown improvements, bond issuance costs and reserves.
The bond proceeds, combined with nearly $45 million in private money that's been raised or committed, leave museum organizers with a $4.2 million funding gap for their $75 million project, Hybl said.
Hybl said museum officials still are waiting to see if the Colorado Springs City Council will provide $500,000 from the city's Lodgers and Auto Rental Tax or LART. That decision by the council could come next week.
Southwest downtown improvements eligible for Regional Tourism Act funding include a high-profile. $10.6 million pedestrian bridge that would span railroad tracks and link America the Beautiful Park to the museum site.
The bridge would receive $7.1 million CQ from the $39 million in bond proceeds, with the remainder coming from the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority, Bob Cope, the Springs' economic development manager, told the Urban Renewal Authority this week.
The Colorado Economic Development Commission still must sign off on the loan documents, a decision scheduled March 16. The Urban Renewal Authority then is expected to give final consideration to the loan at its March 22 meeting.
Colorado Springs, Colo. – September 28, 2016 — The United States Olympic Museum recently announced $4 million in new fundraising moving the project significantly closer to the goal of breaking ground in early 2017. With approximately $6 million dollars left to raise for construction, and $18 million remaining for the total project, museum supporters are confident in the new energy heading into the final stage of fundraising. “We are close.” said Dick Celeste, United States Olympic Museum Chairman. “We have renewed enthusiasm from many stakeholders and we’re confident that the construction process will begin in the next few months.”
Amidst this new momentum, the Museum Board met last week to approve the appointment of Robert Cohen as the newest member of the Board of Directors. Rob is Chairman and CEO of IMA Financial Group in Denver and has a long history of leading major efforts within Colorado as well as the United States. He has led fundraising and capital campaigns for a number of non-profit organizations including but not limited to Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation, Colorado
Succeeds, Denver Zoo, Downtown Denver Partnership, and Visit Denver, as well as MSU-Denver where he was the chair of the Board of Trustees through numerous capital projects. In addition, he has a particular interest in amateur sports and the Olympic movement. He is the founder of the Denver Sports Commission and is on the Board of Directors of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Foundation. He also serves on the board of a number of for profit companies including Atlas Advertising, Commerce Bank, Dovetail Solutions, and Southern Hospitality.
“Rob is a proven leader both in the Denver community and in the world of amateur sports. We are delighted that he has agreed to join the effort in support of the United States Olympic Museum and we look forward to his engagement in this exciting project. His connectivity in Denver and throughout the United States is another great victory for us.” – Dick Celeste, US Olympic Museum Chairman
Additionally, the Board of Directors approved the appointment of Peter Maiurro to the role of Interim Chief Operating Officer. Peter is an executive on loan from El Pomar Foundation and will commit 20-30 hours per week in support of the U.S. Olympic Museum project. Peter is Vice President at El Pomar Foundation where he is Director of Penrose House and El Pomar’s other legacy properties, the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun and The Penrose Heritage Museum. Peter has
been involved with numerous community organizations such as Discover Goodwill, Big Brothers Big Sisters Colorado, the United States Olympic Endowment, and The Federation Internationale du Sport Universitaire (FISU).
“The Trustees of El Pomar believe strongly that The United States Olympic Museum will be an important asset for the Pikes Peak region and we are pleased to make Peter available to support the next phase of the Museum’s development.” – William J. Hybl, El Pomar Chairman and CEO.
What are your most vivid memories from the 1984 Olympics?
Marching in Opening Ceremony was a highlight! Seeing the entire stadium wearing the red, white & blue…they were on their feet cheering for us! What a moment. Also, standing on the podium when awarded my all-around gold medal. I remember the U.S. flag rising, the national anthem playing, my hand on my heart singing the great words of that song—one of the proudest moments of my life. And probably the most personal moment was when I came down from the vault podium, just having scored a perfect 10 to secure my all-around gold. I ran into Bela's arms, he lifted me up in the air and said to me, "YOU ARE THE OLYMPIC CHAMPION!” That was a surreal moment in time.
The museum will feature an interactive exhibit that will simulate Opening Ceremony. What are your memories of walking into the historic LA Coliseum?
Walking into Opening Ceremony was incredible. Since the USA was the host country, we were the last delegation to walk in. There was a long delay because earlier in the ceremonies, thousands of balloons we were let go that caused a delay (due to a signal interference) for the TV audience. It's seemed like we were never going to be allowed to go in, but when we did—-WOW!! It's really hard to describe the emotions I was feeling. I had such pride as an American with a big USA on my uniform. I had a sense of relief that I had finally done it—I was an Olympian. The Coliseum roared, you could feel the crowd pounding their feet, cheering us on. Signs for us were everywhere and it was so loud you could barely hear yourself think and I knew I had made it!
What would you like visitors to take away from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum?
That dreams can happen, they can come true. I'm a coal miner’s daughter from a small town in West Virginia who was told my whole life that my Olympic dream was "crazy thinking.” I tell young people not let other people put limits on you; if you have a deep desire and passion for something and you BELIEVE in yourself, you can achieve it. You just be willing to make the sacrifices to make it happen.
You are the mother of four very active daughters. Can you tell us a little about them and their athletic achievements? As an Olympic gold medalist, what is it like to watch your own children compete in sports?
My oldest Shayla, 21, is a junior at Baylor and won a National Championship for Acro/Tumbling (a new sport within USA Gymnastics). She was a level 10 gymnast. McKenna, 19, is a freshman at LSU on the very dynamic gymnastics team. Skyla, 15 is a competitive cheerleader and my youngest, Emma, 13, is a level 10 gymnast (possible elite).
I'm very busy traveling the country supporting and watching them. I'm so very blessed and grateful. I'm just a nervous mom like most watching their kids compete!
You are the youngest inductee in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. What does that mean to you?
I'm very proud being the youngest inductee. I want museum visitors to understand how hard we athletes work and sacrifice to represent our country. And I want people to take away "how proud and how great it is to be an American!"
I am honored to be the newest member of the Board of Directors for the U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame. My contributions to the creation of this Museum are a natural extension of my personal and professional life.
Like many of you, I have been enthralled with Olympic history and have admired Olympic and Paralympic athletes for many years. I am very glad our nation's greatest athletes are being celebrated in the U.S. Olympic Museum.
As NBC Olympics' executive vice president of programming, I have had the privilege - along with my fabulous colleagues - of helping shape the Olympic narrative in the United States for more than three decades. This summer, I will be part of telecasting my 17th Olympic Games, and am excited for the history that will be made in Rio de Janeiro. Records will be set, upsets experience and memories of a lifetime made. These are the kinds of captivating stories that will be celebrated in the Museum.
As a Museum board member and exhibit content committee member, I will bring that enthusiasm, and a media and historical perspective to our discussions. Hopefully, some of what I have learned at NBC - particularly the telling of athlete stories - can be incorporated into the U.S. Olympic Museum's visual and multi-media experiences.
Thank you for taking the journey with us as we strive to build an iconic structure to honor our Olympians and Paralympians in a meaningful way.
Peter C. Diamond
Executive Vice President, Programming
Exhibit Content discussions with U.S. Olympic athletes, USOC and NGB experts in February 2016.
Mary Lou Retton, pictured above with her husband Shannon Kelley, and their four daughters.
A Conversation with Mary Lou Retton
1984 Olympic medalist & USOM Athlete Advisory Committee Member
While only a high school sophomore, Mary Lou Retton captivated the nation by becoming the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. In addition to her all-around gold, she won two silver and two bronze medals for Team USA. Mary Lou and her megawatt smile appeared on the Wheaties box--the first female athlete to do so. She has appeared in motion pictures, TV shows and commercials. Today Mary Lou, 48, pictured above with her family, is a public speaker and book author, and the mother of four very active daughters.
A LOOK BACK:
1904, St. Louis
- The 1904 Olympics, held in St. Louis, were the third Olympics and the first ones where gold, silver, and bronze medals were introduced for the first three places.
- Long before the Paralympics, American gymnast George Eyser (born August 31, 1870) competed in the 1904 Olympics with a wooden leg, earning six medals in one day, including three gold (rope climbing, vault and parallel bars), two silver medals (pommel horse and all-around), and a bronze (horizontal bar).
- George Eyser competed with a wooden prosthesis for a left leg, having lost his real leg in a train accident. He won gold in the vault, an event which then included a jump over a long horse without aid of a springboard.
- Eyser was the only person with an artificial leg to have competed in the Olympic Games prior to 2008. The first official Paralympic Games were held in Rome, Italy in 1960.
Director of Administration, U.S. Olympic Museum
On behalf of the Board of the U.S. Olympic Museum, I must announce the fact that we will be losing our stalwart Director of Administration, Kristen Downs, who resigned effected March 31st. Kristen's husband has accepted a new job in Portland, so Kristen will be attending to the many challenges of moving the family to Oregon as soon as school finishes.
We are deeply grateful for the remarkable contribution Kristen has made to our effort to bring the vision for the U.S. Olympic Museum to reality. On behalf of the members of the Board, and the many people involved in this project who have come to respect and depend on Kristen, I want to express our best wishes for her transition and extend an invitation to come back to the Springs for the Museum opening in 2018.
We expect to announce a successor in the near future.
Richard F. Celeste
Chairman, U.S. Olympic Museum Board of Directors
Like the athletes themselves, the Museum's goal is not simply to match expectations, but to exceed them.
Here's how you can help open the doors to the storied history of Team USA:
2. Contribute Images & Artifacts
Cleaning out the basement? Attacking the attic? Conquering the closet? If you have treasures from your U.S. Olympic or Paralympic experience, hang on to them for now.
Help us create a national treasure that tells the story of what it means to be a U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athlete!
Two-time Olympian Shannon Miller, models her 1992 Olympic team jacket, one of the items she discovered while sorting through personal boxes of treasures for the U.S. Olympic Museum. "It is still too big," laughed Miller, 38. The winner of 16 World Championships and Olympic medals, Miller is the most decorated gymnast, male or female, in U.S. history. At the 1992 Barcelona Games, she was the most successful American athlete, winning five medals. Her memoir, "It's Not About Perfect: Competing for my Country and Fighting For My Life," was released this year and tells the story of trial, triumph and life after cancer.
The U.S. Olympic Museum has received a $500,000 grant from the Denver-based Daniels Fund, giving organizers another boost toward their goal of raising $80 million for the project.
The fund, created 16 years ago by the late cable television pioneer Bill Daniels, targets amateur sports among areas it seeks to support through its charitable giving, said fund president and CEO Linda Childears.
"When we looked at that opportunity, we said, 'this will inspire young people to understand what it really means to be an elite athlete,'" Childears said Thursday. "The exhibits that are planned for the museum are to be very interactive and very encouraging to a young potential athlete."
The fund's board of directors approved the grant Monday, which will be given to the museum in a lump sum, Childears said.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers is a Daniels Fund board member, but he recused himself from the panel's vote on the grant because of his close relationship to the museum, she said.
Still, Suthers shared with the board the importance of the project to the Springs, Childears said.
In a news release announcing the grant, Suthers said the museum will help boost tourism, create jobs and solidify the Springs as "Olympic City USA" - a new effort to brand the city as the Olympic movement's home. Besides the proposed museum, the Springs houses the U.S. Olympic Committee's headquarters and one of the nation's three Olympic Training Centers.
Dick Celeste, board chairman of the nonprofit Olympic Museum, said Thursday that the Daniels Fund grant "is an affirmation of the support from a foundation established by a guy who loved sports, who loved to inspire young people in the world of competitive sports and encourage amateur athletics. It's a particularly meaningful donation."
The museum is one of four projects that make up City for Champions, a tourism initiative whose goal is to attract visitors to the Pikes Peak region and boost the local economy.
The Colorado Economic Development Commission has pledged $120.5 million in state funds over 30 years to help finance City for Champions - money made available through the state's Regional Tourism Act. That program allows qualified projects to receive a percentage of increased state sales tax revenue generated by the spending of out-of-state visitors who are attracted to Colorado by the new tourism venues.
Museum officials say they have $29 million in private funding either in hand or committed, and are counting on another $20 million in state sales tax revenue that will help support a bond issue for the museum.
But, Celeste said, organizers "have a long way to go." The museum's construction cost is estimated at $73 million, but organizers want to raise $80 million, with the extra funds earmarked to help cover operating costs and contingencies.
As envisioned, the 60,000-square-foot Olympic Museum would showcase the nation's Olympic and Paralympic movements through exhibits and artifacts.
The museum is planned for 1.7 acres just west of Vermijo Avenue and Sierra Madre Street in southwest downtown; the City Council targeted the mostly light industrial area for redevelopment 15 years ago.
Razing old buildings and other site preparation work began in December. Museum organizers want to break ground in the spring, although Celeste said Thursday work probably won't begin until April at the earliest.
Museum officials hope to open the venue no later than the start of the February 2018 Winter Games.
By Rich Laden: 636-0228
This article was orginially published on The Gazette.
Each day, we move one step further on the exciting journey to bring the U.S. Olympic Museum from vision to reality. We are proud of the progress we have achieved and the world-class team we have behind us. Highlights include:
- Demolition of vacant structures on the site in preparation for Spring 2016 groundbreaking.
- Fundraising over $48 million, 60% of fundraising goal, to build and endow the Museum.
- U.S. Olympian and Paralympian involvement in the architecture and exhibit content design process to ensure accuracy and a fully accessible building where all visitors will have the same experience.
The U.S. Olympic Museum wishes you a very merry holiday season! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for our latest Museum updates leading up to the 2016 Rio Games.
Site preparation underway for the U.S. Olympic Museum groundbreaking in the Spring of 2016. The vacant building has been demolished!
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY LAB
An exhibit preview of the life-changing advances in sports performance and sports medicine that are redefining how we understand the human body and its abilities in our Science & Technology Lab.
Visitors will explore the specialized training and rehab methods for elite athletes, interact with state-of-the-art advances in athletic equipment, and learn about the achievements of our U.S. Paralympic athletes, including wounded war veterans who are turning adversity into triumph as they compete in the Games.
ABOUT THE MUSEUM
The first comprehensive U.S. Olympic Museum in the country will be a sustainable, state-of-the-art 60,000 square-foot building embodying the forward-looking values of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Games. A world-class, accessible facility, this museum will feature 20,000 square feet of highly interactive exhibits, fascinating artifacts, a high-tech theater, broadcast studio and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
The Museum, a timeless institution that will reflect the thrill and spirit of the Games and our pride in Team USA, will rise on 1.7 acres of land in Colorado Springs’ Southwest Downtown Urban Renewal District, creating a gateway to the city. Groundbreaking is expected in Spring 2016, and the Museum is projected to open in 2018.
"I think it is long overdue to have a place that pays tribute to so many athletes who have represented our country."
- Kristi Yamaguchi
1992 U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist and World Champion in Figure Skating, and U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame inductee
U.S. Olympic Museum Athlete Charrette July 2014
(L-R) Willie Banks (1983 U.S. Olympic silver medalist, Triple Jump); Kristen Downs (USOM Director of Administration); Keith Gable (2014 U.S. Paralympic bronze medalist, Snowboard Cross); Joey Cheek (U.S. Olympic 2006 gold & silver, 2002 bronze medalist, Speedskating); Kristi Yamaguchi (1992 U.S. Olympic gold medalist, Figure Skating); Eli Bremer (2008 U.S. Olympic Team, Modern Pentathlon).
A LOOK BACK
Olympic Gold Medalist and Tuskegee Airman Mal Whitfield
- 3x Olympic champion Mal Whitfield will be honored in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame at the U.S. Olympic Museum. The American, who was nicknamed "Marvelous Mal", died November 19, 2015 at the age of 91.
- He won double gold at the 1948 Games in London, claiming individual victory in the 800 meters in an Olympic record time of 1 minute 49.2 seconds and anchoring the 4x400 meter relay. He also won bronze in the 400 meter race. His triumph marked the first time an active serviceman had won an Olympic title.
- During World War II he was a member of the celebrated and racially segregated Tuskegee Airmen, part of the Army Air Forces. In Korea, he once trained between bombing missions, running at night on runways.
- Whitfield was able to defend his 800m crown at the 1952 Helsinki Games by posting an identical time and winning gold. He won a silver in the 4x400 meter relay.
Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, 1984 U.S. Olympic gold medalist - 100m hurdles
USOC chief of organizational excellence and U.S. Olympic Museum Board Member
Like the athletes themselves, the Museum's goal is not simply to match expectations, but to exceed them.
You can help open the doors to the storied history of Team USA
2. Contribute Images & Artifacts
Cleaning out the basement? Attacking the attic? Conquering the closet? Don't toss it all just yet. If you have treasures from your U.S. Olympic or Paralympic experience, hang on to them for now.
Help us create a national treasure that tells the story of what it means to be a
U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athlete!
The U.S. Olympic Museum was privileged to benefit from 1992 Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi’s involvement in its first athlete charrette to discuss content and exhibit design.
“Even as an athlete, I am constantly inspired and awed by the stories of Olympians,” she said. ““I was honored to have been asked to exchange ideas in the first charrette.”
The former figure skater played an active role in suggesting user-friendly exhibits and interactive options, making valuable contributions to the early design of the museum. “A U.S. Olympic Museum that pays tribute to so many athletes who have represented their country is long overdue,” she noted during the meeting.
The Parade of Nations is one of the most memorable events of an athlete’s Olympic experience, according to athletes involved in the exhibit and content design process—even more so than winning a medal. Based on that feedback, the U.S. Olympic Museum Parade of Nations will be a rousing immersive signature exhibit that will invite visitors to participate in the thrilling experience of entering the Olympic Stadium surrounded by countrymen and competitors on the world stage at the Opening Ceremony.
Kristi has first-hand knowledge of the Parade of Nations and offered valuable feedback to the U.S. Olympic Museum design team.
“It was definitely one of my most memorable experiences,” she recalled. “Wearing the official U.S. Olympic Team gear was so cool— I officially felt like an Olympian. It was exciting just lining up and visiting with the other athletes as we waited for the Parade of Nations to start. And then hearing the roar of support as the U.S. Team entered the stadium was thrilling. If ever I felt pride in representing my country and being a part of the team, this was it! The lap around the stadium went by way too fast, but I’ll always remember that feeling,” she added.
The “Magic of Media” exhibit will allow Museum visitors to explore what it's like to be behind the camera broadcasting the Games to the entire world. A former NBC broadcaster and “Today” show correspondent during the Olympics, Kristi believes this will be a significant experience for visitors.
“We are touched by the stories of athletes through media,” she said. “With the broadcast of the Olympics, millions can be a part of it. You start to grasp what a worldwide event this is once you see the IBC [International Broadcast Center) and MPC [Main Press Center] and all that it takes to bring the Games to the world.”
A U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame inductee, Kristi will be one of a myriad of individuals highlighted in the new U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame that will be located at the U.S. Olympic Museum. The Hall of Fame will be an active experience highlighting the best of the best -- athletes, coaches, leaders, innovators and supporters who exemplify the values of the Olympic Movement.
The U.S. Olympic Museum is grateful for Kristi’s jovial spirit during the content and exhibit design process. A world-champion in every sense, Kristi continues to contribute to the progress of the U.S. Olympic Museum.
“I certainly got into the pin trading,” she recalled. “It was fun to interact with athletes from all over the world and barter with them. I did work up to a pretty good collection, perhaps some can be donated or loaned to the museum!”
Kristi Yamaguchi is a U.S. Olympic gold medalist and world champion in figure skating. She is the 1992 Olympic Champion in ladies' singles. Yamaguchi also won two World Figure Skating Championships in 1991 and 1992 and a U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 1992. She won one junior world title in 1988 and two national titles in 1989 and 1990 as a pairs skater with Rudy Galindo. In December 2005, she was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
It was a wall breaking, not a groundbreaking.
Nevertheless, it was an important first step for the U.S. Olympic Museum, which is planned for downtown Colorado Springs' southwest side.
A demolition crew on Wednesday began razing an old industrial building on a 1.7-acre site at Vermijo Avenue and Sierra Madre Street where the $65 million museum will be built. An excavator - a large piece of construction equipment - repeatedly punched holes in the building's concrete block wall and tore off portions of its metal roof. The building was expected to be down by week's end.
The site preparation work, which will include razing two more buildings and the removal of railroad spur tracks, asphalt and concrete, will happen over two to three months - scraping the site clean in advance of a museum groundbreaking targeted for March, said Stan Rovira, the project's manager.
"It was important to us to demonstrate that we really are doing this," said Rovira, who oversaw projects at Colorado College and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs for a combined 16 years. "This is a step to let the public know that this is a serious project. There's been thousands of hours of work to this point in the design of the building. That is still progressing. But this is something tangible that people can see."
The museum is part of the City for Champions tourism initiative - four projects designed to attract visitors to the Pikes Peak region that are being funded, in part, by sales tax money provided under Colorado's Regional Tourism Act. The museum was planned before City for Champions was launched in 2013, but then was added to the mix of tourism projects.
The 60,000-square-foot museum, also being funded by private donations, is intended to showcase the nation's Olympic and Paralympic movements through exhibits and artifacts; the U.S. Olympic Committee is based in Colorado Springs, which also is home to one of three Olympic Training Centers.
The museum site was donated by Nor'wood Development Group, a large Springs real estate company that owns several southwest downtown parcels.
For years, the area was home to the Crissey Fowler Lumber Co., which had a retail store and several nearby industrial buildings. The structure being torn down Wednesday had housed a shop where Crissey Fowler fabricated roofing trusses, Rovira said.
About 90 percent of the building's materials - mostly concrete and metal - will be recycled, said Erin Meade, co-owner with her husband, Patrick, of Springs-based Iron Mountain Demolition.
"None of this is going to go to the landfill," she said.
Patrick Meade was at the controls of the excavator as it tore through the building's wall and roof. Iron Mountain also planned to use a shear - a scissors-like device - to snip through the building's heavy metal beams to allow them to be torn down.
An empty auto salvage storage building and another building that currently houses a metal works business also will be razed in the next few months, Rovira said. The Springs office of Terracon, a nationwide engineering consulting firm, has been hired to conduct an environmental study of the site, he said. Meanwhile, the nonprofit museum has secured more than $48 million in financial commitments for the project, board chairman Dick Celeste said Wednesday. While the museum's price tag is $65 million, he wants to raise $80 million to help cover contingencies and to create an operating endowment.
Museum officials hope to open the venue by the start of the February 2018 Winter Games in South Korea.
"To me, this is more than a baby step," Celeste said of the site preparation work. "Not a giant step. But the fact is, we're now on the ground, on the site, and beginning to prepare for a groundbreaking next spring. For people who've wondered, 'OK, I've seen pretty pictures, when is this really going to happen?' Well, here it goes."