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Sep 23, 2010 4:32 PM by Mike Moran

Sports commentary: The USOC and Colorado Springs after 3 decades

It has taken over three decades for Colorado Springs to fully understand the value and the impact for its quality of life, national and local reputation and image that being the hometown of America's Olympic movement and the USOC has created..........now, perhaps our good citizens and leaders will truly embrace it during this special weekend of the U.S. Olympic Assembly..........today, as more than 400 men and women from across the nation, representing the USOC and its extended family- media, sponsors, member associations, national governing bodies, athletes and 80 cities who don't have the USOC's national headquarters but desire its events and a relationship, arrive at our airport, a stunning report has been released that details in the most obvious manner what the USOC means to the city in economic impact alone.......it underscores how critical it is to have retained the organization's national headquarters here for the next three decades.........the fact-based report, conducted by Deloitte, one of the world's largest professional services firms, concluded that Olympic-related organizations and businesses have an annual combined $215 million economic impact and helped employ more than 2,100 people in the Pikes Peak region in 2009............."Part of our obligation to the people of Colorado Springs for their 30 years of support is ensuring that we're making a positive impact in every way we can," said U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun. "This study allows us to quantify the positive economic impact that Olympic-related organizations have on the community and is a benchmark for us to use as we look to grow in the future.".............using accepted industry economic principles and modeling approaches, combined with dozens of interviews with key area stakeholders, Deloitte analyzed the direct, indirect and induced economic impact that the USOC, the 22 local National Governing Bodies and other associated businesses have on the El Paso County economy, based on 2009 data..........key findings of the Deloitte study indicate that the USOC and NGBs employ a combined 719 people in the region, providing an estimated $1.4 million in local tax revenue and $1.15 million in local property taxes. All told, local tax receipts in 2009 total $4.9 million from activities associated with the USOC..........As the home of the USOC, the Colorado Springs area drew more than 13,000 athletes and staff to the U.S. Olympic Training Center which provided an additional $15 million to the local economy in out-of-facility expenditures. Today, there are more than 90 total companies in the region's sports sector, 50 of which conduct regular business with the USOC.........on top of that, The Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau lists the USOTC sixth in its top-10 list of top El Paso County attractions. That rating is supported by the fact that the USOTC plays host to more than 78,000 out-of-town visitors per year and 130,000 total guests to tour the facility, with their impact accounting for $1.67 million in visitor spending..........the study also took into effect the qualitative contributions of the USOC, including the economic development opportunities that exist for the region based on its association with the Olympic Movement and a healthy lifestyle. Also contributing to the qualitative impact of the USOC is the indirect exposure and visibility the city receives from the national and worldwide publicity the organization and the athletes training and competing in Colorado Springs provide............as the hundreds of respected Olympic family visitors enjoy the hospitality and amenities of our remarkable city this weekend, the findings of the report are uplifting and welcomed by those of us made up the first wave of the USOC to arrive in Colorado Springs in 1978 from 57 Park Avenue in New York City, where the organization had headquartered for decades.......the city had embraced and welcomed the USOC after only one other, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, had formally recruited the small organization.........only ten people made up that first USOC staff, all packing up and heading West to create a new beginning for an organization thrust into the limelight in 1978 by Congress and the Amateur Sports Act, and charged with control of the Olympic movement in the United States in the aftermath of a decade of problems and showdowns between the old AAU and the NCAA over athlete rights and countless other political issues and overall control of amateur sports........Executive Director Col. F. Don Miller's cast that first day at Olympic House included his assistant, Marty Duncan, Baaron Pittenger, chief financial officer Bill Bachert, office manager Jim McHugh, attorney Doug Dunlop, marketing chief Arthur I. Kuman, operations director Jerry Lace and his assistant, Larry McCollum, and press chief and tireless historian C. Robert Paul, Jr..........Miller and Pittenger brought me on board as the USOC's media guy and spokesman in December from CU, where I had spent a decade as the Buff sports information director.........our first contribution to the city's economic impact and image was the 1978 National Sports Festival, which brought 4,000 athletes in 28 sports to the city for a competition that previewed the future for scores of top competitors who would go on to Olympic glory..........our annual budget was only about $10 million at the time, and yet we were treated to warmth and affection by the citizens and elected officials of our city, who were delighted that the USOC had chosen to relocate...........from those humble beginnings, the USOC has grown and prospered, survived the buffeting and damage of boycotts, controversies and upheaval to enjoy the news this week that it now ranks as the most positively-viewed sports organization in America, and that Olympic and Paralympic athletes are viewed with more respect and admiration than all others in our country.........now, the USOC is returning in a most palpable way the affection and support it has received over 32 years in the city, and the best lies ahead for the community.........a month ago, the Sports Corp and the Economic Development Corporation hosted a special lunch at the Broadmoor International Center tagged "Building A Great City Through Sports," .......a sold-out crowd of 500 heard keynote speaker Jim Morris, who led the way in the 1980s as Indianapolis re-built its image and economy through amateur sports say, "Every top-tier city in the United States would kill to have the United States Olympic Committee."...........today, as the Olympic Assembly is held for the first time here, Colorado Springs has the USOC and the others don't. We are known worldwide as "The City Where Olympic and Paralympic Dreams Begin" for hundreds of thousands of the best and brightest of our youth who share the dream of being the best they can be in amateur sport.........what we have here is the most special of marriages, one based on sportsmanship, values and the Olympic ideals...........time to celebrate!

Mike Moran was the chief spokesman for the United States Olympic Committee through thirteen Games, 1980-2002. 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: mike@thesportscorp.org and read more of his columns at Colorado Springs Sports.

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