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In Pictures: Basking in Olympic and Paralympic Glory in Colorado
By Tom Adkinson
December 2, 2022

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum opened at an inauspicious time – just as travel was hampered by the covid pandemic in mid-2020. However, just like a champion athlete, the $91 million, 60,000-square-foot museum, which earned design accolades from Architectural Digest, found its footing and is celebrating Americans’ sports accomplishments in artistic and emotional ways. The foothills of the Rocky Mountains are its scenic backdrop, and towering artistic images of athletes in action greet you in the entrance hall. An elevator whisks you to the third level, and then you stroll down a ramped path through multiple galleries. There are no steps, but there are thousands of compelling stories to see and you descend.

Even the building wins awards

us olympic paralympic museum
The Rocky Mountains rise behind the curves of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs. Architectural Digest gave the building a shout-out for its design in the months ahead of its 2020 opening. Image by Jason O’Rear

Colorful action in the museum entrance

colorado museum mural
Colorful graphics almost two stories tall greet you in the museum’s entrance gallery. The images are based on photos that were “Neimanized” in the style of artist LeRoy Neiman. The museum accomplished that work in conjunction with the LeRoy Neiman Foundation. Images capture the action of skiing, gymnastics, snowboarding and other sports. Image by Tom Adkinson

Bob Beamon: Record holder to this day

olympian bob beamon
Olympian Bob Beamon displays the gold medal he won in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics with a long jump of 29 feet 2.5 inches. The museum’s display about Beamon includes this photomural of him in flight and a red carpet stretching the length of his astounding jump. It was a world record for almost 23 years, and it remains the Olympic record and the second-longest wind-legal jump in history. Image by Tom Adkinson

Amanda McGrory: Athlete and archivist

Paralymian Amanda McGrory
Paralymian Amanda McGrory shows off a racing bike in a museum gallery. She was a dual sport college athlete (wheelchair basketball and track and field) who now is an archivist for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. She competed in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Rio, London and Beijing (1 gold medal, 2 silvers and 4 bronzes) and has won more than 25 marathons. Image by Tom Adkinson

Snowboarder overhead!

olympics snowboarder
Olympic gymnast Michelle Dusserre (silver medal in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics) admires a photomural of a snowboarder in action. Photographic and artifact displays capture visitors’ attention throughout the 60,000-square-foot museum. Image by Tom Adkinson

Kristi Yamaguchi: Frozen in bronze

Kristi Yamaguchi statue
A bronze statue of Kristi Yamaguchi accents the sweeping curve of a gallery about winter sports. Yamaguchi won a gold medal in the 1992 Olympics is Albertville, France, in between winning world championship competitions in 1991 and 1992. Image by Tom Adkinson

Trip-planning resources: and

(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available on

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