Reconstructing the key events over the past 50 years that led to Colorado Springs becoming Olympic City USA and to the eventual construction of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum and Hall of Fame.
Dec. 28, 1974
Unhappy with the country’s performance in the 1972 Olympic Games and longstanding disputes between the Amateur Athletic Union, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the United States Olympic Committee, President Gerald Ford signs an executive order to launch a commission on Olympic sports.
Civic leaders from Colorado Springs make a successful pitch to the USOC to move its headquarters from New York to the former site of Ent Air Force Base, a location east of downtown that had been recently decommissioned after NORAD moved its command underground in Cheyenne Mountain. Baton Rouge, La., was the only other city to make a bid for the USOC headquarters. Colorado Springs seals the deal with the allure of high-altitude training potential and cozy financial terms — $1 million provided by the El Pomar Foundation to cover relocation, $1 annual rent for the Ent Air Force Base’s 34 acres.
Aug. 1, 1978
The offices for the USOC open in Colorado Springs. About one-third of the staff in the previous headquarters in a New York townhome relocate to the Pikes Peak region.
Nov. 8, 1978
President Jimmy Carter signs the Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, which consolidates power for nonprofessional sports. The act charters and gives a monopoly to the U.S. Olympic Committee, which now has the authority to charter national governing bodies for sports.
The Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs sees a wave of construction in preparation for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. A multisport Sports Center with six gyms and the Velodrome in Memorial Park are added to the city’s facilities.
March 18, 1991
After five years of fundraising and debating about potential sites, a plan to build a U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs was shelved by USOC leadership when the estimated cost rose from $10 million to $27 million. The city had raised about $7.6 million for the project.
July 23, 1995
The USOC approves a $23.8 million expansion and upgrade of the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, leading to the creation of an athlete center, a sports medicine and science complex and a visitor’s center that includes the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
The USOC agrees to a $53 million incentive package that keeps it in Colorado Springs for 25 more years and facilitates the relocation of its offices to downtown.
USOC and its 225 employees move from Boulder Street to the current headquarters at 27 S. Tejon St. in downtown Colorado Springs.
June 29, 2013
The Gazette first reports that Colorado Springs plans to seek $82 million from the state’s Regional Tourism Act program for a “City for Champions” project that would include a U.S. Olympic museum, a multiuse stadium, an Air Force Academy visitors center and a university sports medicine performance center.
“I don’t think it is an overstatement to say this is a watershed moment in the history of our region,” then-Mayor Steve Bach said. “We could have an indelible impact maybe for 100 years or more.”
Colorado Economic Development Commission approves $120.5 million over 30 years in state income tax revenue to the city of Colorado Springs to facilitate the four “City for Champions” projects.
June 10, 2017
A ground-breaking ceremony takes place at Sierra Madre Street and Vermijo Avenue in southwest downtown Colorado Springs, beginning construction on the USOPC Museum and Hall of Fame. “This is an historic and transformational day for the city of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region,” Mayor John Suthers says. “Today we break ground on the nation’s one and only Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame and we continue to construct the foundation for our future as Olympic City USA.”
After the planned May opening was delayed because of reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum’s debut was rescheduled for July 30.