Jan 26, 2011 5:07 PM by Mike Moran
You would have been required to read or listen carefully this week (or be blessed/cursed as a recipient of my regular e-mail blasts), but it has been a significant week for the extraordinary sports sector in Colorado Springs............Monday's news announced the selection of the city and the World Arena as hosts for the prestigious 2012 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships for the world's top skaters in North America, Asia, Australia and Africa. More than 100 athletes from 12 countries are expected to compete in the event...............yesterday's good news came from Turkey, with the announcement that the International University Sports Federation (FISU), chose Colorado Springs as the host city for its 2012 World University Championships in Softball and Boxing, with more than 300 athletes from as many as 30 nations heading this way for summer competition at venues on the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs campus............these are not insignificant announcements, nor should they be taken as some sort of business-as-usual messages by either our citizens or our media we rely upon...........this is a pair of major 2012 international sports events coming our way, and a salute to the unmatched reputation of Colorado Springs as a destination for amateur sports championships and its status as the home of the American Olympic movement...............next week, more than 300 of the top Olympic-style wrestlers from 20 nations come to town for the 2011 Dave Schultz Memorial International, an event that annually draws elite Greco-Roman, men's freestyle, and women's freestyle wrestlers from around the world. This year's tournament will be held February 2-5 at the United States Olympic Training Center, as always............on February 19 at The Broadmoor, Olympic figure skating legend Peggy Fleming returns to the city where she trained for her gold medal as part of a unique evening to benefit the U.S. Figure Skating Memorial Fund................ On February 25 you can come to The Broadmoor and celebrate the superb 2010 football season at the Air Force Academy at its annual gridiron banquet.........This special kind of thing is not happening anywhere else in the country.................looking ahead, the 2011 Colorado Springs Olympic family-related sports calendar includes the USA Boxing National Championships (TBA), the USOC's May 16-21 Warrior Games for wounded service athletes, the June 22-25 USOC National Coaching Conference at the Antlers Hilton, the July 12-17 IBSA World Youth Championships For The Blind, the September 22-24 U.S. Olympic Assembly at the Antlers Hilton, and the October 19-23 IOC International Athletes Forum...............this menu means that the city will host thousands of important visitors, athletes, officials and international sports officials, many of them getting their first look at Colorado Springs and what we have to offer and provide............economic impact? Check. Image and reputation enhancement? Check. Media coverage? Check.............. All this is on top of the staples of the menu coming your way............the 2011 U.S. Women's Open at The Broadmoor, the 89th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and downtown Fan Fest, 2011 Rocky Mountain State Games, the Quizno's Pro Challenge Cycling first stage, Sky Sox baseball, Colorado College, Air Force and UCCS intercollegiate sports, the 71st Pikes Peak Or Bust Rodeo, plus the annual Sports Corp sports luncheons and the big one, the 12th Annual Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremony at the World Arena on October 25...........economists, business executives and sports officials and media can provide a myriad of figures and opinions on what this all means for the city and the Pikes Peak region, and you will see it all as the year rolls on..............but what we have going on here is a Sports sector that not only delivers a boost to the economy and local business, prestige and image to the city, a feeling of family and our own sports identity, but a vital quality-of-life element that the only the healthiest and best-places-to-live cities in America enjoy.............for businesses not directly connected to this sector, it still means they conduct their dealings in an environment that gushes positive vibes and enthusiasm, as well as participation and civic pride, and that means something.............it means jobs for youth willing to volunteer, take an internship and position themselves to get the chance to be a part of the leadership and staffs of the almost 50 sports organizations within the city...............all of this for our town's residents without ever hitting the dreaded I-25..................there are scores of American cities spending millions of tax and private dollars on creating a brand, seeking sports events and recruiting sports organizations and franchises, bragging about what sports brings to their communities, but none of them the size of our city have what we already have in Colorado Springs, and never will...............the next two years are special ones in Sports in our city, get out and enjoy it and become involved.
Mike Moran was the chief spokesman for the United States Olympic Committee for a quarter century, through thirteen Games from Lake Placid to Salt Lake City. The Omaha, Nebraska native was the Sports Information Director at the University of Colorado for a decade before joining the USOC in 1978 as it left New York City for Colorado Springs. He was the Senior Communications Counselor for NYC2012, New York City's Olympic bid group from 2003-2005 and is now a media consultant. Reach him at: firstname.lastname@example.org and read more of his columns at www.coloradospringssports.org