The 2020 Summer Olympics were originally scheduled to kick off in Tokyo at the end of this week. Because of the pandemic, the games have been pushed back to 2021.
But at least one Olympics-related project is moving forward this summer.
Constructed over the last three years, the 60,000-square-foot facility celebrates the more than 12,000 past and present U.S. Olympians with a hall of fame, and its 12 galleries guide visitors through every step of a Team USA athlete's journey, from training to medal ceremony. There are separate exhibits focusing on the Summer Games, the Winter Games, and the roles that science and technology play.
(Photo credit: Bill Baum // U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum)
Speaking of technology, the museum is equipped with numerous high-tech interactive elements. Visitors can select a favorite sport at the start of the tour, and an RFID chip in each ticket will prompt special content related to that activity at exhibits throughout the complex.
The touchlessness of that trick is especially welcome as the museum opens amid a global health crisis. Other safety measures include timed ticketing to limit capacity, social distancing enforced in galleries and at displays, and a mask requirement for staff as well as guests.
To limit the touching of surfaces, each visitor will be given a "keepsake stylus" to use at touchscreens in the museum, and there's an option to register for customized experiences via smartphone instead of onsite kiosks. Payments at the cafe and gift shop must be made by credit or debit card only.
Colorado Springs is also home to a state-of-the-art U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center, where visitors can usually catch sight of athletes readying themselves for the games. But that facility is temporarily closed for tours. The official museum for the Olympics as a global tradition is in Lausanne, Switzerland, which is currently off-limits to casual visitors from the United States.
Tickets for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum go on sale Wednesday, July 22. Admission costs $24.95 for adults, $14.95 for kids ages 3–12; kids ages 2 and under get in free.