Colorado Springs, Colo. – The U.S. Olympic Committee and the Smithsonian Institute, two great American establishments with storied histories, are teaming up to showcase great sports moments of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Beginning June 21 at the Smithsonian Castle in Washington, DC, visitors can view the “American Heroes of the Olympic Spirit” exhibition which features medals, photos and stories highlighting Olympic and Paralympic achievements over several decades and representing a variety of sports.
The Smithsonian Castle, the flagship museum of the world-renowned Smithsonian Institution, is located on the National Mall and attracts more than 1 million visitors from around the world each year. In total, the Smithsonian Museums and the National Zoo attracted more than 26 million visitors in 2007.
The “American Heroes of the Olympic Spirit” exhibition will give visitors to our Nation’s Capitol an opportunity to celebrate Team USA in this Olympic year by reliving the celebrated moments of the Olympic Games as well as the remarkable achievements of America’s Olympians and Paralympians.
The exhibit will be categorized into showcases featuring the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and Olympic Winter Games. Additional displays will highlight U.S. Olympic host cities and Olympic torches. Twenty-seven athletes have generously loaned their Olympic and Paralympic medals to the exhibit including, figure skater Dorothy Hamill, hurdler Edwin Moses, swimmer John Naber, the family of discus thrower Al Oerter (deceased) and Paralympic swimmer John Register.
“We are proud to showcase these priceless treasures for the public,” said USOC Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr. “We hope visitors are inspired by what this exhibit represents. This memorabilia symbolizes some of the greatest achievements in sports history, and we hope they help propel the next generation of stars to their own moments of greatness.”
The exhibition will showcase the accomplishments of storied athletes dating back to the 1932 Los Angles Olympic Games. Other posters, participation medals and memorabilia date back to the 1904 St. Louis Olympic Games. A few highlights of the exhibit include:
- The four gold medals and one silver medal won by speedskater Bonnie Blair Cruikshank in 1988, ’92 and ’94. Blair Cruikshank was the first woman to win four Olympic gold medals.
- Gymnast Shannon Miller’s two gold, two silver and three bronze medals from the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games. Miller, who was a member of the gold medal-winning 1996 Olympic women’s gymnastic squad, was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 2006 and is the most decorated gymnast in American history.
- The medals won by the Shea family. John “Jack” Amos Shea (deceased) won two gold medals at the 1932 Olympic Winter Games in speedskating. Seventy years later, his grandson, Jimmy Shea took gold at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games in skeleton.
- Free-standing structures commemorating the 20th and 40th anniversaries of the memorable long jumps of Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Bob Beamon.
The “American Heroes of the Olympic Spirit” exhibit opens June 21, 2008 and will run through October 12, 2008. The exhibition is free to the public.
For more information, please contact the USOC Communications Division at 719.866.4529.
About the U.S. Olympic Committee
The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the sole entity in the United States whose mission involves training, entering and underwriting the full expenses for the U.S. teams in the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games. In addition to being the steward of the U.S. Olympic Movement, the USOC is the moving force for support of sports in the United States that are on the program of the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games.
About the Smithsonian Institution
The Smithsonian Castle, the flagship museum of the world-renowned Smithsonian Institution, is located on the National Mall and attracts more than 1 million visitors from around the world each year. The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum complex and research organization composed of 19 museums, nine research centers and the National Zoo. All of the Washington, D.C. Smithsonian museums and National Zoo are free of admission. For more information on the Smithsonian Institution and its exhibits, visit http://smithsonian.org.