Grand opening at UOP June 27
June 16, 2015
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.
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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. 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 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 $20 per person for adults ages 13 and older, $10 per person for youth ages 3-12 and free for ages 2 and under.
Ahead of the grand opening event, Utah Olympic Park will host the 2015 Olympic Day from 3 to 6 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.
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