Art of the Olympians (AOTO) is honored to announce that the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has given the organization permission to display the USA Olympic five-ring marks at the Art of the Olympians Al Oerter Center for Excellence in the Historic River District of Downtown Fort Myers, Fla.
On Friday, Oct 29, AOTO will host a press conference and unveiling ceremony at the Al Oerter Center of Excellence presided by Norman Bellingham, 1988 gold medalist in canoe / kayak and COO of the USOC.
In recognition of founder Al Oerter’s long-standing commitment to the ancient Olympic ideals and his contribution to Olympic sport, the USOC granted AOTO use of the word "Olympian", which is protected by an act of Congress. As an extension of that license, AOTO is able to display the U.S. Olympic Rings on and in the Center for Excellence.
The Olympic Rings are the most recognizable symbol in the world, and stand for the pursuit excellence in mind, body, and spirit. The Art of the Olympians Center for Excellence celebrates the constant challenge to achieve greatness in physical, artistic, and educational endeavors.
In the ancient Olympic Games, an athlete was not only expected to possess great agility and strength, but also to understand and nurture the arts. By training the body in sport and the mind in art, literature, poetry, and music, the ancient Olympic Games were the inspiration that produced more responsible and enriched citizens.
AOTO turned to those ancient Olympic ideals and Al’s passion for art and sport into a motivational tool to encourage others to achieve their best through our cultural and sports exhibits as well as our community outreach efforts.
The lessons learned at AOTO expose patrons of all ages to innovative ideas in order to encourage imagination, team-work, and the discovery of self-direction through the Ancient Olympic Ideals of excellence in mind, body and spirit. AOTO promotes and cultivates creative thinking through interactive workshops, Sport and Cultural Exhibitions, lectures, and hands-on activities that align the ethics of sport with the creative experience.
“The respect shown by the USOC in agreeing to let AOTO display the USA five rings demonstrates the confidence and admiration for Al's vision to create a center promoting Olympic ideals and values, ”Cathy Oerter, AOTO Chairwoman and wife of the late Al Oerter.
During the weekend-long celebration, AOTO will host several events including the premiere of its self-titled documentary on Friday, Oct. 29. The evening will be hosted by Peggy Fleming, 1968 Olympic Gold Medalist in Figure Skating. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students with ID.
On Saturday, Oct. 30, community members will have an opportunity to explore the Caloosahatchee River on a kayak tour featuring co-guide Norman Bellingham, COO of United States Olympic Committee and 1988 Gold Medalist in the sport of kayak. Attendees will learn about the Olympic Games and Norman’s experiences during a lunch lecture following the kayak tour. Tickets are $50 and reservations are required.
Gallery hours are Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Gallery is closed on Sundays, Mondays and holidays. For general Museum information, visit our web site at www.artoftheolympians.org., follow us on Twitter at @artofolympians, fan us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/artoftheolympians or call 239-332-5055.