ST. LOUIS – Aug. 3, 2016 – With the 2016 Summer Games about to get underway, the birthplace of the Olympics in North America is extending its best wishes to its new South American counterpart.  Billboards have gone up in the St. Louis area with the message: “Good luck, Rio!  From North America’s First Olympic Host City to South America’s.

In 1904, St. Louis hosted the third Olympiad and became the first city in North America to host the Olympics.  Now, 112 years later, the Games are making their debut in South America as Rio de Janeiro serves as host.  The billboards highlight that historical connection.

The “good luck” message appears on two digital billboards in St. Louis.  One is located near Downtown on Interstate 64, east of Jefferson Avenue, visible heading west.  The other billboard is near Lambert Airport on Interstate 170, north of St. Charles Rock Road, visible heading south.  The artwork for the billboards appears at the end of this news release.

The St. Louis Sports Commission is responsible for the billboards with help from a generous donation that was recently made to its Olympic legacy project.  As part of its mission to benefit St. Louis through sports, the privately-funded nonprofit organization takes the lead in furthering and celebrating the region’s Olympic legacy and contributions to the Olympic movement.  The billboard campaign is one of several legacy projects the Sports Commission is undertaking.

“Our Olympic legacy and our contribution to the Olympic movement should be visibly promoted as a source of pride, motivation and inspiration,” said Sports Commission President Frank Viverito.  “As host of the 1904 Games, St. Louis is in elite company and forever has a place at an international table that includes the world’s greatest cities.  Furthermore, the St. Louis Games profoundly changed the Olympics for the better.  We want to use that spirit of innovation as a model to move our community ahead.”

In addition to the billboards, the Sports Commission is working to visibly identify all of the sites where Olympic events took place in 1904.  This will be done through interpretive signage commemorating the sites, showcasing their historical relevance and highlighting the ways the St. Louis Games shaped the future of the Olympics.  The organization also intends to engage the community through educational initiatives and grassroots programming connected to the Olympic legacy.  It ultimately hopes to create a world-class gathering space that celebrates St. Louis’ place in the Olympic movement.

“It’s important to note that this effort is as much about our future as our past,” said Shad Schoenke, a local marketing professional, civic booster and Olympic fan who has developed much of the vision, content and creative for the Olympic legacy project, including the “Good luck, Rio” billboards.  “This is about being inspired by the Olympic spirit and the most popular sporting event in the world.  It’s about recalling a time when St. Louis reached for greatness, and using our Olympic legacy to achieve greatness again.”

More information on the Olympic legacy project as well as the history and innovations of the 1904 Games can be found at  The website includes a section where people can support the Olympic legacy project by making a tax-deductible donation.

STL Sports Commission Olympic Legacy Billboard Artwork