New Olympic Museum deserves a gold medal
Travels with Deb
The Olympics was always a much-anticipated event for my family. We would gather together, jockeying for position in front of our small TV set, to share the excitement of competition and the pride in seeing our country’s athletes stand on the podium. We agonized when they slipped or fell, or were edged out of a medal by a nanosecond. But no matter the outcome, in our minds these talented men and women were still winners on the world’s biggest stage.
Olympians were in a class of their own and we were in awe of their accomplishments. Their stories spoke of years of sacrifice, of struggles to overcome obstacles, and of dedication and perseverance on a level we couldn’t begin to grasp. Their hopes and dreams, though, became our hopes and dreams, as we watched them represent our nation.
If you’re like me and geek out on all things Olympics, you’ll want to put the new U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum & Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs on your must-see list. Known as Olympic City USA, Colorado Springs is home of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s headquarters and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center. And now with the opening of the museum, the town has achieved the Olympic trifecta.
The museum, which has already been ranked as one of the top attractions in the nation, offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the Olympics and Olympians. It is a permanent tribute to the history and commitment of Team USA athletes in pursuit of Olympic and Paralympic glory.
This place, my friends, is world-class, with state-of-the-art technology and a wealth of interactive experiences. The 60,000-square foot building, which took about three years to construct, was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Located at the base of the Rocky Mountains, with views of famed Pikes Peak, it serves as an anchor for the new City for Champions District. And it will soon connect downtown Colorado Springs with the America the Beautiful Park, via a 250-foot pedestrian bridge (to be open in early 2021).
The exterior of this eye-catching building is comprised of over 9,000 folded, diamond-shaped aluminum panels, each one different and unique. The panels reflect the light and thus change in color, depending on time of day. This stunning design, with its iconic, dynamic shape, is evocative of motion and movement.
Inside, the essence of animation is continued with a spiraling form, allowing all visitors to descend the galleries in one continuous, ramped pathway. Full accessibility was a main priority during the building’s design process, resulting in the museum receiving recognition as one of the most accessible in the world.
When you arrive, you’ll register and be given a badge that interacts with the displays. This credential is enhanced with radio-frequency identification, which accommodates user preferences and aids in creating a highly personalized experience. The experience will adapt based on these selections, so for example, if you want audio descriptions, larger text or visual enhancements, those will automatically happen as you tour the museum.