Top actors go to Hollywood. Country music stars gravitate to Nashville. Likewise, Olympic athletes belong in Colorado Springs. We value the privilege of hosting the United States Olympic Committee, the U.S. Olympic Training Center and 22 Olympic and Paralympic teams.
So it makes good sense that two additional Olympic national governing bodies, which oversee Olympic teams, consider relocating to Colorado Springs as the city this week hosts the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Assembly. The assembly began Thursday after 400 leaders of sports organizations from throughout the United States met in the Springs for several days of seminars, meetings and receptions.
Welcome to all who are involved with this gathering. Please enjoy our city and surrounding region. While doing so, look for the benefits athletes enjoy in Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs consistently ranks among the fittest cities in America. A widely publicized Facebook survey ranked the Springs as second-fittest city in America this year. Men's Fitness has ranked Colorado Springs as the "Fittest Town in America" and the Springs always does well in other health and fitness surveys.
No other major city in the United States can compete with Colorado Springs for its diversity of recreational and sporting options, which include rock climbing, cycling, seemingly endless developed hiking trails and more than 100 fitness centers, health clubs and gyms. Athletes get to bike, walk, climb and run to the 14,115-foot peak of Pikes Peak - America's most famous and beloved mountain.
And Colorado Springs is not some island in a sea of sofa surfers. A recent Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey of 350,000 Americans found that Colorado ranks first in physical health and among the top six states for emotional health and healthy behavior. Throw in the obvious training advantages of living at high altitude and it's hard to imagine a better environment for America's top athletes.
The ideal climate and geography have created another great amenity for athletes in Colorado Springs: cultural symmetry.
The array of conditions that account for the youth and vitality of Colorado Springs has resulted in a large and cohesive community of coaches and athletes who congregate here. They learn from one another, train together, socialize and help each other through good times and bad.
City officials and the greater community have long welcomed and supported the athletic community, Major improvements underway on the 35-acre campus of the U.S. Olympic Training Center are possible, in part, because of a $40 million incentive package awarded by city government in 2009.
In a separate and more recent move, city officials applied for state tax rebates that may help establish a sports medicine facility at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, an Olympic Hall of Fame and a multiuse athletic stadium downtown. The community's commitment to supporting high-level athletic achievement goes beyond question.
We thank the USOC, the Olympic Training Center and 22 governing bodies for choosing this community as home. And we thank the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Assembly for meeting in here for the fourth year in a row.
Please let us know how Colorado Springs can be an even better and more supportive host of our country's best young athletes. We take pride in every medal an American athlete earns. We take pride in you.