The benefit of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Assembly goes beyond filled hotel rooms and several dinners and receptions around the city this week.
It could be felt sooner rather than later. Two national governing bodies are considering relocating to Colorado Springs with one "on the back end and the other preliminary," according to Tom Osborne, president and chief executive officer of the Colorado Springs Sports Corp.
"I'm not sure what's going to happen," said Osborne, who declined to name the organizations. "At events like these, we are always looking for opportunities."
The possibility of another 20 jobs coming to the area is a benefit of having this annual event. Osborne said efforts to attract organizations continue year-round.
The assembly begins Thursday after a couple of days of seminars, meetings and receptions for 400 sports organization leaders from around the United States.
The assembly includes the U.S. Olympic Committee board of directors' quarterly meeting Thursday and Friday. A private awards dinner led by three-time Olympic gold medal swimmer Rowdy Gaines features former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as the keynote speaker Friday night at the Antlers Hilton hotel.
"We're thrilled to bring this important event back to Colorado Springs," USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said. It is the fourth year in a row the assembly will be held in Colorado Springs.
It's a great opportunity to show off the city and how it supports sports organizations, Osborne said. The Sports Corp. and Regional Business Alliance hosted a Monday night reception at the Penrose House for organization leaders from around the nation. Other such gatherings continue all week.
"It (the annual convention) is something people really look forward to," said Patrick Sandusky, USOC chief communications officer. "It is quite a good showcase for the city."
There are plenty of good reasons to want to attract more NGBs to the area, which already has 22 Olympic and Paralympic sports headquarters based here until USA Basketball moves to Tempe, Ariz.
There is serious money involved.
The combined membership of the NGB Council is 13,071,709 with a collective annual budget of $643.3 million, according to USA Wrestling.
City and business leaders would like to see more NGB annual conventions in Colorado Springs.
"They will see what the USOC does and what is available and hopefully they will come back," Osborne said.
Besides having the USOC national headquarters in the area, another attraction is the U.S. Olympic Training Center in central Colorado Springs.
That 35-acre campus is undergoing several improvements thanks in part to the $40 million incentive package the city awarded in 2009 to keep the USOC in Colorado Springs.
The renovations include the 16,000-square-foot sports medicine center and a southern addition onto Olympic Sports Center I for a new strength and conditioning area with an indoor agility field, elevated training track and a viewing area for tourists to view athletes in training.
A new security gate is being built on Union Boulevard to allow the 557 athletes and coaches living there easier access.
Visitors will still enter through the south entrance on Boulder Street. Of the $40 million from the city, $16 million is being used to fund part of the improvements, USOC spokesman Mark Jones said.
The gate is expected to be completed in December while the 35,000-square-foot addition is set for March 2014.
TREES INSTEAD OF SWAG
The USOC announced that instead of giving away free souvenirs to assembly attendees, they are donating 3,000 trees — half to the city and half to the county — to be planted in areas damaged by area wildfires. The city and county will decide where to plant the trees, USOC spokesman Mark Jones said.