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Video: Downtown Colorado Springs preps for Olympic celebration as frigid weather goes away

February 6, 2014 Updated: February 7, 2014 at 2:19 pm
Caption +
Snowmobiler Willie Elam practices jumping Friday morning Feb. 7, 2014, in preparation for Olympic Downtown Celebration and Downtown Dash on Tejon Street. The celebration begins at 5 p.m. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

With roughly 5,000 miles between us, you're probably not heading to Sochi to watch the XXII Olympic Winter Games.

So the Colorado Springs Sports Corp. is bringing them to you. The organization is throwing a bash downtown on Friday to coincide with the opening ceremonies in Russia, and the guest list is long.

This is the third such event organized by the sports corporation: The first commemorated the opening of the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games. About 20,000 people showed up, says Jeff Mosher, special events manager for the sports corporation.

Then, last July, the event was held in conjunction with the opening ceremonies of the Rocky Mountain State Games. About 10,000 people showed up to the beach volleyball court and concerts along Tejon Street.

"We help promote Colorado Springs though sports and activities," Mosher says about his organization. "We try to attract new sports organizations to town, and enhance the environment and the community through sport."

Friday's event will be similar in look and feel of the 2012 fete, although it will occupy more of downtown, Mosher says.


Olympic Downtown Celebration

When: 5-10 p.m. Friday

Where: Along Tejon Street, between Platte and Pikes Peak avenues

Tickets: Free; 634-7333,

Something else: Short and Sweet Downtown Dash (one mile run), $10

Click here for street closure details.


In addition to televising the ceremonies from Sochi, elements of this year's games will be spotlighted. There will be snowmobile jumping, ice climbing and dog sledding. There's even a chance to hang out with top Olympic atheletes. And what's a Russian setting without an ice bar and the Cripple Creek Vodka Zone?

All that and more await Friday.

"We want everybody to support Team U.S.A.," Mosher says, "to wear red, white and blue, and hang out and watch the opening ceremonies."

And no, weather isn't a factor. The show will go on.

"It's a winter event," Mosher says. "We will hold the event even in the snow and cold temperatures."


Pull up a bale of hay and watch the opening ceremonies with the rest of the city. Television station KOAA 5 will broadcast from the stage on Tejon Street near Platte Avenue from 5 p.m. Too far away to see them? Check out the 17-foot-long LCD TV screen.

About 6:15 p.m., Randi Miller, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in freestyle wrestling, will light a ceremonial cauldron live on air.

At 6:30 p.m., the station will tune into the NBC national broadcast of the ceremonies already going on in Sochi, Russia. The ceremonies end about 10:30 p.m., Mosher says.

If the temperatures are too cold for the TV equipment, they'll do the newscast from the studio and cut away to a few live remotes from downtown.


Snowmobiles - that's right, snowmobiles - will fly through the air over Tejon Street in three separate performances between 5-9 p.m. Mechanical ramps assembled in the streets will accommodate the action, says Keith Sayers, owner of FMX, the company providing the equipment. No snow is required.

"It's an AstroTurf run to an 8-foot- tall take-off jump," Sayers says. "They'll jump 75 feet onto a trailer that's all hydraulics."

The stars: X Games competitors Willie Elam and Heath Frisby, who will show off some of the moves that earned him the games' Snowmobile Best Trick in 2012.


Don't let an 80-foot-tall sheet of ice scare you. CityRock will be there to help the willing up the icy climbing wall.

Sign up for a turn at climbing up to 40 feet and then watch professional ice climbers do demonstrations all the way up the wall. All gear is provided, and there is no age or experience requirement to climb.


It's no Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, but about six small groups of dogs, including the Colorado Mountain Mushers, will race through some dog sledding demonstrations throughout the night in Acacia Park. Each group includes one or two dogs, and multiple breeds will be represented, including rottweilers. North Star Siberian Husky Rescue will bring 10 dogs for the public to meet. They've already been adopted: These dogs are there to bring awareness to the rescue group.


Make like a Russian at the Cripple Creek Chamber of Commerce's Cripple Creek Vodka Zone. Orange- and citrus-flavored Ketel One Vodka will be served at the ice bar. The vodka is poured through an ice luge - an ice carving with a cartoon theme, Mosher says - and comes out ice cold. Drinks are $4-$8.

If vodka is not your thing, try the beer garden, where TV screens will broadcast the opening ceremonies. There'll also be a hot chocolate zone and food, including funnel cakes and baked goods.


Here's your chance to chat up an Olympic athlete. Get something autographed while you're at it. Eleven groups will be on hand, including those from ice hockey, figure skating, weightlifting, cycling, volleyball, swimming, fencing and archery.

Other visitors include the United States Association of Blind Athletes, the United States Anti-Doping Agency, the United States Olympic Committee, the United States Paralympics, Girl Scouts of the United States, YMCA and others. Their booths will be along Tejon Street between Bijou and Kiowa streets, and they'll stick around the whole night.


If you're feeling brave, maybe you can ask an Olympian to do a little dance with you. Two 8-feet-by-20- feet music stages will host two local bands. The Austin Young Band will play the blues from 5 to 7 p.m. on Bijou Street near Cascade Avenue, and the Grant Sabin Band rocks out from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tejon Street.

If the weather is nasty, both bands will move indoors to the third floor of Cowboys, 25 N. Tejon St.


A 1-mile Short and Sweet Downtown Dash fun run starts at 6:15 p.m., and begins and ends on Bijou Street between Tejon Street and Cascade Avenue. It's $10 to enter, and runners receive a cup of hot chocolate at the end. The shinier your running gear, the better. The run is expected to go on no matter the weather. Register at

Contact Jennifer Mulson at 636-0270,

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