April 16, 2014 Updated: April 16, 2014 at 1:28 pm
Colorado Springs' newest sister city, Ancient Olympia, Greece, was welcomed April 8 with a reception at Penrose House, wrapping up a busy visit as officials toured the city, learned local history at the Pioneers Museum, met with U.S. Olympic Committee representatives and had lunch with representatives from Colorado Springs Sister Cities International.
At the reception, Mayor Steve Bach and Greek officials exchanged official gifts.
Dr. Dionyssios S. Gangas, director of the International Olympic Academy, explained the history of his gift, an ancient Greek pot that would be filled with olive oil used by wrestlers before matches. Aristideis Panagiotopoulos, vice mayor of Ancient Olympia, presented a sculpture of Nike, which means victory in Greek.
Bach took time to recognize Harris Kalofonos, the international consultant with the International Olympic Academy who initiated the sister city movement, as the type of person Colorado Springs needs to have more of - "young professionals."
Doug Price, of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, envisions working with tour operators in Greece to package visits to past Olympic venues in that country with, in future years, visits to the Olympic Hall of Fame planned for Colorado Springs.
This is the seventh sister city, joining Bankstown, Australia; Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; Fujiyoshida, Japan; Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Nuevo Casas Grandes, Mexico; and Smolensk, Russia.