The summer Olympics don't start till August, but they're already in the spotlight as athletes strive to qualify and as the film "Race" shows moviegoers how black runner Jesse Owens won four gold medals in 1936 in Berlin while Adolph Hitler watched.
Now the city of Colorado Springs has stepped into the spotlight, too, by officially gaining the moniker of Olympic City USA, as the home of the U.S. Olympic Committee, the U.S. Olympic Training Center and the planned Olympic Museum.
The city also is home to many Olympic athletes, including Carl Schueler, the city's comprehensive planning manager, a four-time Olympian racewalker in 1980, 1984, 1988 and 1992.
The new brand is expected to boost Colorado Springs' image as a stronghold for world-class athletics, much as Nashville has gained acclaim as Music City USA.
A colorful logo introduced during the City Council's work session Monday features elongated triangles rather than the classic Olympic rings, which U.S. Olympic Committee members said likely wouldn't be allowed for such use, reported Jamie Fabos, the city's chief communications officer.
Bernard Sandoval, president of Sandia Advertising, said the logo's triangles are shaped to represent Pikes Peak using the Olympic colors of green blue, red and yellow, plus an incongruous gray triangle meant to provide "dimension" and symbolize the "shadow side" of Pikes Peak.
A "branding" name "has got to be something that sets you apart," Mayor John Suthers said earlier this month.
"There's a 501(c)(3) (nonprofit) that will be set up through the Pikes Peak Community Foundation that will give constructions to further this effort ... to build up over the next two years, and that's what the tourist aspect would be.
"The good news is, the Olympic Committee is very involved in this effort."
The official "mission" of the name is to "create sustainable economic growth and enhance civic pride," and the brand "promise" is "to inspire Olympic ideals and national pride in every person who lives, works and plays in Colorado Springs," Fabos said.
Other Olympians attended the City Council's work session to support the new branding of Colorado Springs. They are:
- Tharon Drake, a paralympic swimmer training here to compete in Rio in more than 10 swimming events in which he holds the U.S. record. Drake won silver and bronze medals at the World Championships last year and was an alternate for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.
- Erin Jones, 24, a resident professional triathlete at the Olympic Training Center since 2012 who hopes to earn a spot on the Rio team.
- Lindsay Benko Mintenko, an 11-year resident who won two gold medals and one silver medal as part of the U.S. Olympic swim teams in 2000 and 2004.
- Michelle Dussere Farrell, a 1984 Olympic silver medal gymnast who helped create the universally accessible playground at Memorial Park through her nonprofit Swing High Project.
The Gazette's Jakob Rodgers contributed to this report.