Feb 9, 2010 5:50 PM by Mike Moran, Bea Karnes

Countdown to the Olympics

Mike Moran worked for the USOC as chief communications officer for nearly 25 years. He's now with The Sports Corp.

As we approach the Vancouver Olympics, here's his latest musing:

The just concluded week was one of the best in our city's recent history when it comes to sports, and it was dramatic supporting evidence for the case I always make that our city has its own sports identity, not some genuflection to our good neighbor to the north and its lineup of professional franchises began on Tuesday with a bang, the packed USA Hockey/Sports Corp special luncheon at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort to welcome the 2010 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team to Colorado Springs, with 275 fans whooping and hollering "USA-USA-USA" as the team was introduced and electricity rolled over to Thursday night at the World Arena when 5,200 showed up to see the team thrash Finland, 5-1 in the final game of the Qwest Tour, and then to the final two games in "Hockey Week" in town, a 2-0 shutout by Colorado College of the Air Force Falcons on Friday with 7,300 at the Arena, and a heartbreaking 2-1 overtime loss by the Falcons on Saturday to the Denver Pioneers as a sold-out crowd of almost 3,000 almost wept at the Cadet Ice Arena after Frank Serratore's kids outplayed and outfought the nation's #2-ranked team, only to lose with less than a minute remaining in overtime on a fluke deflection.........and all weekend long at the Olympic Training Center, wrestlers from 22 nations, including Olympic medalists and World Champions, struggled on the mats at the Dave Schultz Memorial International, now in its twelfth year in the city and one of the world's best Olympic-style wrestling tourneys........but what took place this week away from the arenas was just as significant........Scott Blackmun wasted no time in his second week on the job as the United States Olympic Committee's new chief executive by announcing that the USOC was bringing its most important annual gathering of the Olympic family to Colorado Springs, its hometown.......the U.S. Olympic Assembly, with more than 600 attendees and guests, will take place September 23-25 at the Antlers Hilton downtown......."This is the most important annual gathering of the U.S Olympic family, and we are pleased to bring this prestigious event to Colorado Springs, where so many of our family have ties." Blackmun said.......the event, which will involve more than 600 participants, will have a theme of "One Team" - engaging organizations including Olympic, Paralympic and Pan American sports, U.S. Olympians, Multi-Sport Organizations, the Athletes Advisory Council, USOC Board members and staff, and White House representatives involved in the U.S. Olympic Movement.......the reaction to this positive message to the community by Blackmun was significant........"The fact that it's back here in Colorado Springs not only speaks to the USOC's commitment to embrace Colorado Springs, but it gives Colorado Springs an opportunity to demonstrate what is unique about this community to the entire Olympic sports world," said former USOC boss Jim Scheer........"The more we can do in this community, the better. Obviously, this community stepped up for Olympic sport and the U.S. Olympic movement. Any time we can bring the family and the community here to this city, we should try to do that," said USA Wrestling chief Rich Bender.......Blackmun, a Colorado Springs guy from the start, intends to do much more to reach out to the city and thank the community for its support and for the gift of a new headquarters and Olympic Training Center enhancements that it has produced, despite the swirl of controversy surrounding it.......right on top of the USOC announcement came the news that USA Basketball was bringing the prestigious FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship For Women to the city, June 23-27, at the OTC's Sports Center I........."USA Basketball is excited to again take on the responsibility of hosting the FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women. This is a great event that will feature many of the best young players from our zone," said Jim Tooley, CEO/Executive Director of USA Basketball. "The fact that FIBA Americas has again awarded this tournament to USA Basketball demonstrates how successful the event was when we hosted it in 2006. I know we will stage a first-class event, and the Colorado Springs community is in for another exciting competition."........ The FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women will feature eight national teams, including the USA, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico and Puerto Rico. The top four finishing squads will earn qualifying berths for the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women......Some of the top players who have represented the United States in the past U18 tournaments include: Jayne Appel (2006); Alana Beard (2000); Tamika Catchings (1996); Tina Charles (2006); Marissa Coleman (2004); Skylar Diggins (2008); Stacey Ford (1998); Sonja Henning (1988); Niesa Johnson (1992); Rebecca Lobo (1992); Maya Moore (2006); Nneka Ogwumike (2008); Candace Parker (2004); Courtney Paris (2004); Cappie Pondexter (2000); Nicole Powell (2000); Lynn Pride (1996); Diana Taurasi (2000); Candice Wiggins (2004); and Tiffany Woosley (1992)...........and on Friday came the welcome news that USA Boxing was bringing back the nation's oldest and most famous event to Colorado Springs, the 2010 USA Boxing National Championships, July 12-17......over 200 male and female boxers will compete, with prelims at the OTC, then Championship Night at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on July 17, with thirteen title bouts (three for women), with a capacity of 1,500 fans......The Sports Corp is the co-host, with the Daniels Fund stepping up again as the presenting sponsor.......not lost in the wave of good news was the positive announcement that Patrick Sandusky, a seasoned PR/Media pro, was named to the Chief Communications Officer post by Blackmun.........the 34-year-old former Northern Illinois football player was the chief spokesman for the Chicago 2016 bid, and was a key member of the winning London 2012 addition to his work in the Olympic Movement, Sandusky has worked on projects related to Wimbledon, World Cup, Rugby World Cup, English Premiership, NASCAR and NCAA football for clients such as Gillette, Nestle, Robinsons, Allstate Insurance, Gatorade and Chelsea Football Club when he was with Hill & Knowlton..........he's only the fourth chief spokesman and media executive in the USOC's 115-year history.......following Bob Paul, Mike Moran (25 years) and Darryl Seibel on the hottest seat next to the CEO's.........Sandusky will be a good one, trust me.

Hey, with Opening Ceremonies on Friday night, the 2010 Olympic Winter Games jump off in Vancouver, with 216 Americans going for glory on the ice, slopes and assorted venues over the next seventeen days.....there will be 835 hours of coverage available on the NBC family of networks, with prime coverage right here on News First 5 and much more on its



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