EFFORT LAUNCHED TO INSPIRE REGION THROUGH PRESTIGIOUS OLYMPIC CITY DISTINCTION
ST. LOUIS – Jan. 22, 2018 – With the goal to inspire awareness, pride and future opportunities connected to St. Louis’ enduring status as an Olympic City, the St. Louis Sports Commission will soon unveil a series of initiatives reigniting the region’s Olympic legacy. As a first step, the organization has established the St. Louis Olympic Legacy Committee to lead the effort. The Committee has been working with the International Olympic Committee this past year to initiate a multi-phase project celebrating St. Louis’ contributions to the Olympic movement as host of the 1904 Olympic Games. It will also focus on future opportunities for St. Louis to engage and participate in Olympism.
“We are one of only three cities in the U.S. – one of only 23 in the world – to host the Summer Games,” said Committee Chairman Michael Loynd. “We were the first Olympic City in America; the birthplace of the Olympic gold medal; we started the tradition of awarding gold, silver and bronze medals for first, second and third place. Yet we’ve never properly embraced our status as an Olympic host city. Every two years, for 16 days, the Olympics are the biggest thing on the planet – and we’re part of that.”
Members of the St. Louis Olympic Legacy Committee are Jackie Joyner-Kersee, six-time Olympic medalist, world-record holder and Sports Illustrated’s Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th Century; Bob Costas, Hall of Fame broadcaster and host of 12 Olympic Games (1992-2016); Shad Schoenke, a local marketing professional and civic booster who helped develop the vision, content and creative for the Olympic Legacy Project; Frank Viverito, president of the Sports Commission; Marc Schreiber, vice president of the Sports Commission; and Chairman Michael Loynd, a St. Louis attorney, investment manager, and author whose volunteer efforts have advanced the Olympic Legacy Project.
“St. Louis has a proud, interesting, and significant Olympic history,” Costas said. “I am happy to be part of the plans to preserve and celebrate that legacy.”
As part of its mission to benefit St. Louis through sports, the privately-funded nonprofit Sports Commission has been at the forefront of furthering the region’s Olympic legacy. The organization represents St. Louis in the World Union of Olympic Cities and has hosted numerous Olympic Trials, national governing body championships, Olympic torch relays and other special events.
“Our Olympic legacy and our contribution to the Olympic movement should be a source of pride, motivation and inspiration,” Viverito said. “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. The St. Louis Games changed the Olympics for the better. We want to use that spirit of innovation as a model to move our community ahead.”
Through its affiliation with the World Union of Olympic Cities, the Sports Commission has worked with the International Olympic Committee to secure approval for its newest legacy initiatives. The St. Louis Olympic Legacy Committee will hold a news conference at 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 5 at Washington University to make several significant announcements connected to the project. The news conference will take place in the Field House in the Athletic Complex, which is adjacent to Francis Field, site of the Olympic stadium in 1904 and the oldest Olympic stadium in the world still in active use. Additional details on the news conference will be distributed to media leading up to the date.