Tonight, Colorado Springs is hosting an Olympic celebration downtown with music, mega-screen TVs, Olympians and a special torch-lighting ceremony to celebrate the opening ceremonies of the 2012 summer Games.

Tonight’s celebration will not only broadcast the opening ceremonies, but will highlight the United States Olympic Committee presence in the Springs.

The downtown party, from 4 to 10 p.m. on Tejon Street between Kiowa and Colorado, will celebrate America’s athletes, some of whom have already started competing.

The event is free and will conclude with a special torch lighting ceremony at 9:40 p.m. that coincides with the lighting of the Olympic Torch in London. It features an NBC Universal feed televised on a 15-by-27-foot, high-definition video screen and stage in front of the USOC headquarters at the intersection of Tejon and Colorado.

“The Olympic Downtown Celebration will be a great way to celebrate as a community how very fortunate we are to be the home of the United States Olympic Committee, U.S. Paralympics and 22 of the USOC National Governing Bodies,” said Mayor Steve Bach in a prepared statement. “Many of the athletes competing in London have trained here at some point in their careers and we look forward to cheering them on as they compete at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Olympic figure skating champion Kristi Yamaguchi and her husband Bret Hedican, Olympic ice hockey player will light the torch downtown.

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Country singers Rodney Atkins and Andy Gibson will perform downtown in a show sponsored by Cat Country 95.1 and business owners Sam and Kathy Guadagnoli. The show hopes to raise donations for the Battle The Blaze Fund — created by the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and the Sports Corp to help with fire relief — and will be broadcast on Cat Country and KCCY.

Other features of the Olympic Downtown celebration include: food and beverage vendors;  a synthetic ice rink near the main stage with interactive events and complimentary skate use courtesy of U.S. Figure Skating, USA Hockey and USA Curling; a miniature tennis court for kids, courtesy of the U.S. Tennis Association; Maximum Velocity, a high-flying BMX performance stunt team; and a fireworks show.

The event is primarily funded by the Downtown Development Authority with support from the U.S. Olympic Committee, the Colorado Springs Sports Corp., AT&T and KOAA-TV.



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