An Olympic year in Olympic City USA means celebrating the Olympic Games at the heart of Team USA. And with Beijing 2022 happening Feb. 5 – March 13, Colorado Springs has two festivals to get you in the spirit of the Games. The with a big kickoff celebration and ongoing events throughout the run of the Olympics and Paralympics.
First comes the Downtown Winter Fest on Feb. 5 outside the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum. The free festival is a perfect way to celebrate the Games, cheer on Team USA and get a taste of the culture of the host nation. Events include autograph sessions with former Olympic and Paralympic athletes, sport demonstrations, a Torch Relay, learn to skate sessions on a synthetic ice rink, live music and Chinese dance and Tai Chi sword fighting demonstrations.
If you haven’t yet visited the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum, this is your chance for free access to select areas. Or you can explore curated artifact demonstrations and extended tours with paid admission. You can also watch the Olympic competition in Beijing on the giant outdoor screen and join in the chants of “U-S-A!”
“The Downtown Winter Fest celebration captures the energy and excitement of the Games and has something for everyone. You will have the chance to try various winter sports, cheer on Team USA on the Jumbotron as they compete in Beijing, and even enjoy some s’mores,” says Tommy Schield, USOPM director of marketing and communications.
After the downtown kickoff, the museum’s ongoing Beijing Winter Fest will run through March 13. Guided tours of the museum will be themed to the Winter Games, and there will be daily special events and programming, from interactive sports demonstrations, such as taking hockey slap shots, to guided museum tours themed to the Winter Games.
“The Museum’s Beijing Winter Fest celebration embodies what it means to live in Olympic City USA,” says USOPM acting CEO Phil Lane. “From daily street curling and artifact demonstrations to athlete meet-and-greets, the energy and enthusiasm of the Games will be felt throughout the museum.”
With offseason admission pricing in place and summer tourist crowds absent, the ongoing festival is a prime time for locals to explore the museum and experience it from a Winter Games perspective.
The Olympic spirit is always strong in the Springs; an Olympic year takes things to a higher level. Many athletes live in Colorado Springs and train at the Olympic Training Center. The city is also home to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum and TK National Governing Bodies, the organizations that organize and manage each sport. Hosted by the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation and U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum, the Downtown Winter Fest is the continuation of a biennial celebration that began in 2012 with the London Games.
Featured Activities for Celebrating the Olympic Spirit at the Downtown Winter Fest:
- Olympic and Paralympic athlete Q&A & autograph signings from:
Peggy Fleming: Figure skating gold medalist in the 1968 Grenoble Olympic Winter Games and five consecutive U.S. championships, three world titles from 1966-68, and Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press in 1968.
Vonetta Flowers: Bobsled gold medalist in the 2022 Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games, two-time Olympian, and first African American athlete to win a gold medal in the Winter Olympics.
John Register: Paralympic track and field silver medalist in the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games, two-time, two-sport Paralympian (Swimming and Track and Field), two-time Olympic trials qualifier, combat Army veteran and amputee.
- Beijing Olympic Games highlights broadcast on the big screen.
- Special free, public access to select areas of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum with curated artifact demonstrations and extended paid tours available.
- Victory on Ice, a winter sport guided tour at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
- Cultural performances from Christina Yeh Chinese Dance Studio & Center for Aikido and Tang Soo Do Studies (Tai Chi Sword Fighting).
- Live music from Soul School.
- The Xfinity Xperience featuring an athlete photo op and s’mores area.
- Interactive sport demonstrations and public U.S. Figure Skating Association “Learn to Skate” opportunities on synthetic ice (provided by Apex Sports Center).
- Torch Relay with Olympic and Paralympic athletes and community leaders.
- Beer garden, food vendors and much more.