USA Wrestling El Paso County Commi...

El Paso County Commissioners approve proclamation recognizing Team USA, including Greco-Roman Olympians

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Aug. 02, 2016, 6:39 p.m. (ET)

The U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman Wrestling Team, along with USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender, Colorado Springs OTC Director Aron McGuire and Aubrey McCoy of the Colorado Springs Sports Corp, pose with the El Paso County Commissioners after the approval of an Olympic proclamation.

VIDEO: Robby Smith after addressing El Paso County Commissioners

The El Paso Board of County Commissioners, in their August 2 meeting, passed a proclamation recognizing the U.S. Olympic family and Team USA, and wishing them great success, which was approved three days prior to the Opening Ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The U.S. Olympic Training Center, the headquarters of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the headquarters of numerous National Governing Bodies, including USA Wrestling, are located in El Paso County, Colo.

In attendance for the proclamation were the athletes and coaches from the U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman Wrestling Team, plus USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender, Director of the Colorado Springs OTC Aron McGuire and Aubrey McCoy of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation.

2016 Olympic Greco-Roman heavyweight Robby Smith addressed the County Commissioners on behalf of the Olympians in attendance. He introduced his Greco-Roman teammates and coaches, then gave his perspective on how the local community supports the Olympic athletes.

“Thank you for having us here today. It is a true honor. I have been a resident athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center for 11 years. I call this place home. Colorado Springs is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I am blessed to have an amazing team, my brothers behind me, and our outstanding coaches. We want to thank you guys for calling Colorado Springs home. We are so blessed to be here,” said Smith.

Robby introduced his Olympic teammates Jesse Thielke, Andy Bisek and Ben Provisor, and the coaches Matt Lindland, Momir Petkovic, Chris Saba, Mark Halvorson, Mohammad Abdelfatah and Herb House.

After Smith answered a question from the Board, he gave a bit more information about the mindset of Olympic wrestlers.

“We get there on the 11th. We get in there to do our jobs and represent this beautiful United States of America. We do this not for the money, not for anything but the glory. It’s not even about the medal. It is about watching your American flag raised and hearing the national anthem.”

USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender thanked the Commissioners for what they do to support the Olympic family in their community.

“Thank you from our national governing bodies and more importantly our athletes for the support that you give our programs in the community. I say this a lot, that this is the best city in America, and that is due in part with the relationship our city has with our Commissioners. We are blessed today. In wrestling, there are three teams going to Rio. We have 100% of our Greco-Roman Team here with us today, the four guys who will step on the mats and represent our country in Rio in a few days,” said Bender.

The presentation was led off by Director of the Colorado Springs OTC Aron McGuire, who talked about how the USOC, the NGBs and the U.S. Olympic Training Center work together to give American Olympic athletes the edge needed for success.

“At the Olympic Games, the difference between fourth place and being on the podium, seeing our nation’s flag raised, is sometimes less than 1% in the performance. It is often less than one-hundredth of a second, less than a fraction of an inch. Our goal at the U.S. Olympic Committee and at the U.S. Olympic Training Center is to provide all the tools and support so our elite athletes will achieve great success in Rio, in Pyongchang and in Tokyo. There is no formula for building a champion, so we work with each of our athletes individually, to maximize our success and eliminate our weaknesses. The Olympic Training Center is a one-stop shopping place for athletes to train. We provide housing, meals, facilities, world-class coaching, sports medicine, psychology, physiology and nutrition. Everything an athlete needs to go to Rio and achieve their goals,” said McGuire.

Colorado Springs, which is officially branded Olympic City USA, also had representation from the local sports leadership in the community.

“I wanted to represent the Sports Corp, and some of our community partners here in Colorado Springs, in congratulating and supporting the U.S. Olympic Committee and Team USA at the Olympic Games in Rio which begins on Friday. I’d like to thank the Commissioners for supporting the Olympic Committee and Team USA this way. I invite all of you downtown on Friday for the kickoff for the Opening Ceremony at the Downtown Celebration from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., so we can cheer these guys on from afar,” said Aubrey McCoy, Director of Operations and Marketing for the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation.

The proclamation was approved unanimously by the five-member Board of County Commissioners.

The Commissioners were very welcoming to the Olympic family members there, and offered their encouragement.

“I want to thank you all. It takes a lot of work to do what you’re doing and put the effort forth to be an Olympic athlete. We are so proud of you. It’s an honor to have the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Olympic Training Center here. I can’t tell you how proud we are of all of our Olympic athletes. Best wishes, good luck and bring back some medals. You worked hard and long to get there and we will be there with you, even though we are not right there with you,” said District 3 Commissioner Sallie Clark.

“Thank you guys so much for everything you do, the commitment and time you put in, the devotion, the giving of self to represent the United States. We are so proud of you all. We will be cheering for you,” said District 5 Commissioner Peggy Littleton.

“I will be working with my scale at home to see if I can adjust it to kilos. I like those numbers a lot better than pounds. In the county, each week, we announce a sport and have the exercises presented and complete the exercises and earn yourself stars. So, you are inspiring a couple thousand employees of the county to get involved. I am curious to see what exercises they may have for the wrestling,” quipped Dennis Hisey, Chairman and District 4 Commissioner.

Also approving the proclamation and spending time with the athletes and coaches were Darryl Glenn, Vice Chair and District 1 Commissioner, as well as Mark Waller, District 2 Commissioner.

Proclamation Recognizing the
United States Olympic Committee,
Training Center and Olympic Athletes and Wishing Them
Great Success in the Summer Games

WHEREAS, The United States Olympic Training Center (OTC) and various operations of the United States Olympic Committee have been located in El Paso County since 1978, and

WHEREAS, El Paso County is proud to be the home of the United States Olympic Committee, the United States Olympic Training Center Complex, as well as other nationally recognized sports facilities, national governing bodies and sports organizations

WHEREAS, the Olympic Training Center complex includes a state-of-the art sports medicine and sports science center and an athlete center providing dining, housing, recreational facilities, and other services for over 500 coaches and athletes daily, and

WHEREAS, with sports venues and support facilities for fencing, gymnastics, judo, modern pentathlon, shooting, swimming, taekwondo, weightlifting, wrestling, boxing, basketball, volleyball and track cycling, the Center is important to the training of America’s Olympic athletes, and

WHEREAS, as a result of the wide range of sports featured at the Center, athletes from all over the country and world train there, diversifying and adding international flavor to El Paso County and the entire state of Colorado, and

WHERAS, the USOC also operates a world-class velodrome in El Paso County and it is considered to be among the top cycling facilities in the world, and

WHEREAS, most other countries; Olympic committees are funded by their national government, the United States Olympic Committee is not funded by takpayer dollars and instead relies on donations and corporate sponsors, and

WHEREAS, the goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful, better world by educating youth through sports practiced without discrimination and in the Olympic spirit, promoting friendship, solidarity and fair play, and

WHEREAS, Team USA will be made up of approximately 500 athletes, with an estimated 25 percent of them having trained at the Olympic Training Center in Colroado Springs, and approximately 1,500 Olympic Committee staff, many of whom are based in Colorado Springs, and they will attend the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on August 5-21, and

NOW THEREFORE, the Board of El Paso County Commissioners proclaims its appreciation to USOC for the role it plays in contributing to the pride of the community and the entire nation during the Olympic Games, and for all of the athletes who will represent the United States at the upcoming Summer Olympic Games, and wishes our Olympians and USOC staff great success at the Games.

DONE THIS 2nd day of August, 2016 at Colorado Springs, Colo.


Dennis Hisey, Chair
Darryl Glenn, Vice Chair
Sallie Clark, Third Commissioner
Mark Waller, Member
Peggy Littleton, Member

Chuck Broerman
County Clerk and Recorder