June 11, 2015 (Park City, Utah) – Saturday, June 27 will mark the Grand Opening of the newly expanded and renovated athlete training pool at Utah Olympic Park - the Spence Eccles Olympic Freestyle Pool. Its name recognizes the generous and enthusiastic support from Utah banker and philanthropist Spencer F. "Spence" Eccles, whose $1 million challenge gift in 2014 jump-started the project's successful fundraising campaign.
One of the most heavily utilized training facilities of Utah's Olympic Legacy Foundation venues, the new pool features seven ramps designed specifically for aerials, moguls, freeskiing, snowboarding and big air. The renovation expands the facility's capacity and offers innovative new technology that will strengthen training not only for Olympic and elite athletes, but also youth participants across multiple snow sport disciplines.
"Spence Eccles continues to carry the torch of Utah's Olympic Legacy like no other," said Colin Hilton, President & CEO of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation in announcing the naming of the new facilities. "His support is unmatched, and we could not have accomplished this project without his generosity and vision."
An All-American skier at the University of Utah in the 1950s, Eccles' passion for winter sport remains steadfast. As an active board member of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation, Eccles generously supports programs and facilities that enrich the state's Olympic legacy and encourage Utah's youth to hone their skills and become the next-generation of elite and Olympic athletes.
Said Eccles, "My family shares my enthusiasm for this project and the grant we've made through our Spencer F. and Cleone P. Eccles Family Foundation. These fantastic new facilities are going to open up tremendous opportunities for the youth of our state, while also providing our U.S. elite and Olympic freestyle athletes with training facilities that are the best in the world."
As the steward of Utah Olympic Park, the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation launched its "Project Big Air Capital Campaign" in 2014 to fund the expansion and renovation of the existing training pool and ramps, now more than two decades old. The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA), which serves as the national governing body for all ski and snowboard disciplines, partnered in the joint effort.
On an eight-month "fast track" in both construction and fundraising, project crews broke ground in October 2014 and capitalized on Utah's mild winter while project fundraisers moved forward to secure the needed funding. In addition to the Eccles family's $1 million challenge gift, the Olympic Legacy Foundation invested $1 million in the new facilities and is now within $100,000 of raising the final $1 million of the total $3 million capital costs. Donations can be made by contacting Jennifer Lippmann, Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation Development Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 435-658-4229.
"This redesigned Spence Eccles Olympic Freestyle Pool represents a new era in ski and snowboard training,” said Luke Bodensteiner, Executive Vice President, Athletics at USSA and board chairman of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation. “We look forward to the positive impact the new ramps will provide even more local youth and elite athletes in the decades ahead.”
Grand Opening Day Details
The Spence Eccles Olympic Freestyle Pool Grand Opening Celebration will be held on Saturday, June 27, 2015. The event will include a special evening performance by the Flying Ace All-Stars - featuring Olympic-caliber athletes who perform choreographed acrobatics into the pool. Doors open at 6:00 P.M. with the show beginning at 7:30 P.M.
Tickets for the grand opening event are available online at UtahOlympicLegacy.org and in person at Utah Olympic Park. Ticket prices are as follows: $20 per person for adults, ages 13 and older; $10 per person for youth ages three to 12; ages two and under are free.
Ahead of the grand opening event, Utah Olympic Park will host the 2015 Olympic Day from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. This family-friendly festival offers sport-themed booths including demonstrations from the National Ability Center, athlete training in the Spence Eccles Olympic Freestyle Pool, Olympian "meet and greet," bounce houses, arts and crafts and more. Admission for the daytime festival is free.
About Spence Eccles and Winter Sport
As a student at the University of Utah, Eccles was a four year letterman on its Ski Team, earning All-American honors in 1957 and serving as team captain his senior year. Competing nationally and internationally in the 1950s, he was regarded as one of the top amateur ski racers in the nation, and was named first alternate to the U. S. team for the 1958 FIS World Championship competition held in Austria. Today and during his 40-plus year banking career as Chairman & CEO of First Security Corporation (later Wells Fargo), Eccles has been one of Utah's most effective and influential advocates of winter sport. He played key "behind the scenes" roles in nearly every aspect of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Utah, including membership on Utah's 2002 Olympic Winter Games Organizing Executive Committee. He served as Mayor of the Olympic Village, and was recognized for his overall impact on the success of the Games by the IOC, which awarded him the Olympic movement’s highest honor: the Pierre de Coubertin Medal. Eccles' support for sports has spanned more than 60 years, during which he has served as a board member and benefactor of such organizations as Alta Ski Lifts, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation, Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, Utah Sports Commission and Sun Valley Corporation.
About Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation
Established in 2002, the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation received its original capitalization in the form of an endowment funded by profits from the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The Olympic Legacy Foundation is a Utah nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization responsible for managing and maintaining world-class facilities and providing opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to participate and excel in winter sport. Inspired by the success and momentum of the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games - considered by many the most successful Winter Games ever staged - the Foundation has placed a focus on embracing, engaging and involving Utah’s youth in winter sport. The Foundation supports national sport organizations and community recreational winter sport programs, as well as subsidizes the operation of two Olympic legacy venues: Utah Olympic Oval and Utah Olympic Park. For more information, please visitUtahOlympicLegacy.org or call 435-658-4200.
About U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation is the nonprofit, fundraising arm of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA). With an organizational vision to be the best in the world in Olympic skiing and snowboarding, the Foundation raises money to support year-round training, development, competition and educational needs of world-class athletes pursing their Olympic dreams.