Published: April 23, 2014
The Olympic movement is felt in Colorado Springs in ways big and small.
There are the large celebrations, the recent new downtown headquarters for the U.S. Olympic Committee and the athletes' memorable successes and failures on TV.
But for Benita Fitzgerald-Mosley the effect is felt when parents come up to her months after she speaks at an area elementary school.
"You don't realize the effect you have until a parent comes up to you and tells you how Johnny is still talking about your speech five or six months later," said Fitzgerald-Mosley, the first African-American woman and second U.S. woman to win Olympic gold (1984) in the 100-meter hurdles. "You see the impact the Olympic movement has firsthand when you talk to elementary schools and how it affects the entire city."
Those associated with the USOC and the 22 national governing bodies in the area celebrated the 36th anniversary of the headquarters' move from New York at an annual luncheon Wednesday.
Inspirational videos from the Sochi Winter Olympics and Paralympics garnered applause from some of the 400 on hand including mentions of the City For Champions proposal, which includes an Olympic museum.
The U.S. success in Sochi, where the Americans finished with 28 medals (nine gold), behind only host Russia (33), was also feted. That included the first medal in two-man bobsled in 62 years and the first gold in ice dancing.
The growing relationship with the city was also praised.
"In the last four years I have seen the community embrace the Olympic movement even more," said Mitch Moyer, U.S. Figure Skating's senior director of athlete high performance.
"This city is synonymous with the Olympic movement in North America and arguably the world," Fitzgerald-Mosley said.
Fitzgerald-Mosley was the keynote speaker at the event at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center, where the Ted Stevens Sports Services Center is nearing completion.
Her speech stressed the importance of taking risks and how the city and Olympic movement are intertwined.
"At first glance you can see how the city and Olympic movement fit together," she said. "We're married; happily married."