Sept. 22, 2015 Live from the road

Colorado Springs

Reported by Alakananda Lebedev, Jennifer Cluck, Phaedra Rosario 6.0 mi

The Colorado Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run begins! When we got to Colorado Springs our first stop was very auspicious, the incredible US National Natural Landmark, Garden of the Gods.

The 480 acres of pristine land are magnificient.

Garden of the Gods was a gift to the city of Colorado Springs in 1909 from the Charles Elliott Perkins family in fulfilment of his wish that it be kept forever free to the public.

Balanced Rock.

Gratitude to SUPER 8 Garden of the Gods, for offering us lovely accomodation. Sonal Patel is pictured with our team holding the Peace Torch. Thank you Sonal and all the staff of SUPER 8!

Queen Palmer Elementary in Colorado Springs was our first school visit of the day!

Children listened enthusiastically to the story of the Peace Run and our journey through the great state of Colorado.

The Children touching their hearts to show where their Peace lives.

Cathy Oerter is pictured presenting Juan Castenada of 5th grade the Al Oerter Foundation Outstanding Student Award.The Al Oerter Foundation fosters character and integrity through sports and the arts. Cathy Oerter is the wife of late 4-time discus Olympic Gold medalist Al Oerter. She spoke with students about the values of respect, hard work and fair-play which inspires self-confidence and a passion for excellence in all avenues of life.

Juan happens to be the first ever recipient of this award which was created to recognise students who represent the ideals of the Al Oerter Foundation.

We offered our certificate of appreciation to all the students and teachers of Queen Palmer Elementary School.

Passing of the torch.

Juan was the first out of ten children on our journey across Colorado to write a collective story about what Peace means to them.

We were thrilled that the CIVA Charter cross country team met us at Queen Palmer Elementary and ran the torch 5 1/2 miles to their high school.

Ms. Hills, the super enthusiastic cross country coach, lead the Peace Runners with her team.

Beautiful backdrop of Pikes Peak in the distance.

Justin, the team captain, set a challenging pace...

..we chased him up the hill and across the train tracks..

...but we caught up!

Arriving at the CIVA Charter School.

Cathy Oerter introduced her husband Al's ideals and achievements to the students, setting the backdrop for the Al Oerter Foundation Outstanding Student Award to be presented.

Kurt Brusche, an inspiring abstract artist, ultimate frisbee player, and all around excellent student was the chosen recipient of the Award.

Kurt shared his ideas for world peace, continuing the story started by Juan from Queen Palmer Elementary school.

The CIVA choir performed a song for the visiting Peace Run team.

Wishes for Peace..

All 160 students held the Peace Torch and made a wish for a better world.

Head Master Randy Zimmerman, Kurt Brusche, his mother, coach Hills, and the Team.

Our next stop was the Colorado Springs School where Academic Dean Eric Gaylord welcomed the Peace Runners.

We were greeted by a fantastic group of students.

The Al Oerter Foundation Outstanding Student Award went to the fantastic Anna Shelton.

Let there be Peace!

Thank you Colorado Springs School for your enthusiastic participation!

The view of Pikes Peak from downtown Colorado Springs.

Our next stop was the United States Olympic Committee Headquarters. Pictured are old friends, USA Team Handball Coach Mike Cavanaugh, Cathy Oerter and USA Team Handball Olympian Greg Morava.

Three time Olympian Cindy Stinger of the United States Olympic Committee recieved the Torch-Bearer Award in honour of her tremendous service to the Olympians for the past 28 years. Cindy is a dear friend of Cathy Oerter and the Peace Run. On receiving the award she gave an incredibly heart-felt speech about how much inspiration she has received from her fellow workers and Olympians, particularly Al Oerter. We were also touched by her moving recognition of Peace Run founder, Sri Chinmoy, and the similarities she noted between the ideals of the Olympics and the Peace Run. There was hardly a dry eye in the room! Her dedication to the unlimited potential of the human spirit and preserving the ideals of the Olympics is remarkable.

Torchbearer Cindy Stinger and USOC family.

After the award presentation we were honored to view the archives of former US Olympic champions. Cathy is pictured in front of her husband Al Oerter's Olympic jacket and competitive discus from the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games.

Next up we were thrilled to be invited on a special tour of the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Erica Hutchinson of the Olympic Training visitors center was our wonderful guide and she really impressed us with her extensive knowledge of the thirty five acre complex.

This is a unique permanent installation called 100 Golden Olympians.

The new Ted Stevens Sports Services Center has a state of the art Strength and Conditioning set-up.

The athletes sometimes train in a hyperbaric chamber to acclimate themselves to a variety of elevations.

Gymnastics is one of the sports that train at the facility.

2012 Bronze Medalist Marlen Esparza trains in the boxing gym.

The pool at the Olympic Training holds 909,000 gallons of water.

The Aquatic Center is 45,000 sq feet. An overhead catwalk and underwater cameras allow for filming athletes both above and below water for testing purposes.

We met a few aspiring athletes who are currently training for USA Boxing in Rio.

We were so happy to meet Paralympian swimmer Sophia Herzog.

Thank you Erica Hutchinson for your ultimate kindness to the Peace Run Team. After already being so spoilt, we were each gifted with a bag of Olympic memorabilia!

Alakananda our international runner from the Ukraine models the Team USA beanie and fleece scarf. Thank you Colorado Springs for a most wonderful day!

Torch carried by
Alakananda Lebedev (United States), Cathy Oerter (United States), Harita Davies (New Zealand), Jennifer Cluck (United States), Prakhara Harter (United States), Rupasi Young (United States).  
Photographers
Alakananda Lebedev
The torch has travelled 6.0 mi in Colorado Springs.

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