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Olympic Committee decision affects Springfield program

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A decision made by the U.S. Olympic Committee resulted in a local impact.

The Springfield-Greene County Park Board announced the Greater Springfield Community Olympic Development Program changed its name to the Greater Springfield Community Sports Development Program, effective Nov. 2, according to a news release.

Managed by a volunteer board in partnership with the local parks system, the program formerly carrying the CODP title switched to the new name after learning in August the USOC would discontinue the program. The local CODP was started in 1998; it was one of 16 cities partnering with the USOC countrywide on youth sports training.

Since the USOC issued no funding for the CODP programs — it did provide Olympic branding and some coach training and staff development — the local organizers decided to continue it. The local program will no longer be able to use the Olympic rings to brand the program, according to the release.

“We will still provide training and development to support athletes in reaching their goals, whether that’s making the middle school team, competing at the collegiate level or going to the Olympic games,” Greater Springfield CSDP Executive Director Lori Endicott-Vandersnick said in the release. “Athlete development has always been our top priority — providing the best coaching, facilities and equipment we can to help athletes grow and mature. And none of that will change.”

The Greater Springfield CSDP provides mental and physical training to an average of 600 athletes per year in archery, ice hockey, tennis and volleyball. It also meets with about 2,000 youth per year via outreach in schools, after-school programs, camps and neighborhood events.

The CSDP has volunteer help from four Olympians and local sports leaders. The Park Board provides access to coaches, equipment and facilities, according to the release.

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