by Pam Zubeck
The City of Ancient Olympia, Greece will officially become Colorado Springs’ seventh Sister City during the City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 8 at 1:00 p.m. A reception hosted by El Pomar will take place at the Penrose House at 6:30 p.m.
Following the reading of the City Council resolution, Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach and Ancient Olympia Vice Mayor Aristideis Panagiotopoulos will sign the official Sister City agreement.
Vice Mayor Aristideis Panagiotopoulos and Dr. Dionyssis S. Gangas, Director of the International Olympic Academy are in town until Wednesday, meeting with a variety of key partners in the Sister City relationship, including the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Colorado College, the United States Olympic Committee, the Downtown Partnership, Colorado Springs Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and Colorado Springs Sister Cities International.
Ancient Olympia is the birthplace of the Olympic Games more than 2,700 years ago. Currently, the city hosts the torch lighting Ceremony of the Modern Olympic Games every 2 years and is the home of the International Olympic Academy (IOA). The IOA is the academic arm of the International Olympic Committee and works to promote Olympic ideals throughout the world. Ancient Olympia numbers approximately 14,000 residents and receives about 2 million visitors a year.
Colorado Springs is home to the United States Olympic Committee, 22 National Governing Bodies of Olympic and Paralympic Sport, and the world’s finest high altitude Olympic Training Center. Becoming sister cities with Ancient Olympia, Greece will enhance the unique relationship our community has with the modern Olympic movement.
Based on the history and Olympic connections between Ancient Olympia and Colorado Springs, the main pillars of cooperation between the two cities will be 1) Academics, 2) Olympism and 3) Tourism.
Academic – Potential activities include academic programs at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and Colorado College endorsed by the International Olympic Academy, student exchange programs and international promotions of these programs to increase the number of international students in Colorado Springs.
Olympic - Potential activities include a unique opportunity to host a series of artifacts from the Ancient Olympic Games, joint promotional efforts around Olympic theme projects such as replicating an Ancient Olympic site/park in Colorado Springs, and promoting Colorado Springs internationally as an ideal location for young professionals to start their career in sports.
Tourism – Potential activities include joint international marketing campaigns promoting Colorado Springs as a top academic, medical and Olympic training destination, and hosting annual conferences and events to attract an Olympic-minded audience from around the world.
Colorado Springs has six other sister cities: Bankstown, Australia; Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; Fujiyoshida, Japan; Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Nuevo Casas Grandes, Mexico; and Smolensk, Russia. All sister city activities are coordinated through Colorado Springs Sister Cities International (CSSCI). For more information or to volunteer to help with any of the Sister City Committees, visit http://www.sistercitycs.us/.