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U.S. Olympic Committee announces honoring campaign for Ted Stevens Sports Services Center during special reception on Capitol Hill

By United States Olympic Committee | Jan. 25, 2013, 1:30 p.m. (ET)

Ted Stevens Sports Center rendering

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Olympic Committee announced plans to launch the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center Campaign for Excellence to commemorate the life and work of Sen. Ted Stevens on Wednesday evening (Jan. 23) at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The memorial campaign will celebrate Stevens’ work and legacy by naming the OTC’s new Olympic and Paralympic training facility – to be called the Ted Stevens Sports Services Center – in his honor.

USOC leaders, U.S. senators and Team USA athlete representatives joined Stevens’ wife, Catherine Stevens, and daughters, Sue Covich and Beth Stevens, to announce the historic campaign, which will support the redesign and expansion of the 35-acre campus in Colorado Springs, Colo. The world-class facility will provide comprehensive and cutting-edge training opportunities for America’s athletes, and will serve as a model of the kinds of services and technologies that athletes require to compete on the world stage.

“Senator Ted Stevens was a champion of the Olympic Movement and we are honored to commemorate his leadership and vision,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. “As the guardian of the Olympic Movement in Congress for more than 40 years, he made possible countless displays of athletic excellence and was a tireless advocate of American athletes’ rights to compete. The Ted Stevens Sports Services Center will help perpetuate his life’s work by supporting U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes for years to come.”

Having served on the U.S. Senate from 1968-2008, Stevens authored the Amateur Sports Act of 1978 and its subsequent amendments, which helped restructure the U.S. Olympic Movement in a way that has contributed to the success of America’s athletes, both on and off the field of play. Today, the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act protects individual athletes, and provides the USOC’s counsel and authority to oversee Olympic and Paralympic business in the United States.

One of the many revolutionary elements contained within Stevens’ legislation was the Paralympic Amendment – an initiative that fully integrated the Paralympic Movement into the USOC. Today, the USOC remains one of only four National Olympic Committees to manage both Olympic and Paralympic programs.

The renovated facility will serve tens of thousands of athletes, including U.S. Paralympians such as Navy Lt. Brad Snyder, who lost his vision in September 2011 while serving in Afghanistan and spoke at the Capitol Hill reception. Snyder had a successful Paralympic Games debut in London last summer, winning three medals before being selected by his peers to serve as Team USA’s flag bearer in the Closing Ceremony.

“I had the opportunity to qualify for the Paralympic Team, compete for the Navy at the 2012 Warrior Games, and prepare for the London Paralympic Games at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs,” Snyder said. “Senator Stevens’ legacy helped me realize my dreams, and continues to contribute to the dreams of thousands of Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls.”

In addition to Paralympic athletes like Snyder, the Ted Stevens Sports Services Center also will serve as a resource for disabled veterans.

After construction is completed, the sports services center will be twice its original size and will serve as the central hub of activity for all athletes who train, compete and reside on campus. The expanded facility will feature a new indoor agility field and weight-training area, enhanced sports medicine and recovery stations, improved physiology and altitude-training capabilities, and a new athlete-teaching kitchen. The center will also include new administrative meeting spaces and offices, and a multi-purpose classroom.

Additionally, the new facility will incorporate a video presentation that tells the story of Stevens’ contributions to the Olympic Movement, both in the United States and around the world. The USOC will also explore the publication of a book about the senator’s life that will serve as an educational tool for athletes and visitors.
Stevens, who tragically died in a plane crash in 2010 at the age of 86, was posthumously inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame as a special contributor in 2012. Just prior to his induction, the impact of his landmark legislation became manifest in Team USA’s record-breaking medal haul at the London Olympic Games, where U.S. athletes topped both the overall and gold medal charts. 

The Campaign for Excellence seeks to raise funds to support the development of the new facility over the course of the next few months. Generous donors will be recognized both within the new Sports Services Center, and on a donor wall in the lobby of the OTC Visitor’s Center.

For further information regarding the Campaign for Excellence, contact Eric Pond at 202-220-3768.