Olympic City USA is set to welcome the 17th Hall of Fame class at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum on Saturday.
The Hall of Fame Festival will run Saturday through Monday, following the Class of 2022’s induction, and boasts a myriad events, including film screenings, a parade and several athlete meet-and-greets.
Notably, the museum is collaborating with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic to host a free concert at 6 p.m. Sunday at Weidner Field — and with hall of fame guest conductors.
Headliners in this year’s class, the first to be inducted since 2019, include household names Michael Phelps, Lindsey Vonn and Mia Hamm, among many others.
“This class is just unbelievable,” says Michelle Dusserre Farrell, vice president of athlete engagement for the museum.
Farrell notes the Hall of Fame Festival’s proximity to Title IX’s 50th anniversary Thursday, mentioning former University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt’s and tennis legend Billie Jean King’s inclusions in the Coach and Special Contributor categories, to which they are the first women inducted.
The central question, in Farrell’s mind, is “How can we connect these athletes with the community? How can we make this tangible?”
This is where events such as the Hall of Fame Festival come in. The free soccer clinic with Brandi Chastain taking place Sunday and the pop up film festival Monday go a long way toward forging athlete-community connection.
Farrell sees the Olympic & Paralympic Museum as a testament to “the human spirit and what people can accomplish” and views the Hall of Fame Festival as an avenue to bringing this beauty to the Colorado Springs community.