Kerri Walsh Jennings has won three Olympic gold medals, and I got to hold one of them! The opportunity to meet an Olympian and listen to her speak was incredible, and I have Spencer Penrose to thank for our introduction. Without Mr. Penrose’s love of athletics, the sports community in Colorado Springs today would look very different.
Spencer Penrose recognized the allure of sports for Broadmoor hotel guests, and he brought elite athletes to Colorado Springs to promote the hotel and the Pikes Peak region. He started the nation’s second oldest automobile race with the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. He enticed world heavy weight champion Jack Dempsey to train at the Broadmoor before his title fight. He built a world-class golf course, and he resurrected the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo through the construction of the Will Rogers Stadium.
Penrose turned a horse-riding academy into the Broadmoor Ice Palace. The Ice Palace evolved into the first enclosed ice rink west of the Mississippi, and the venue hosted Colorado College’s hockey team and national figure skating championships.
Since 1937, El Pomar Foundation has continued to fulfill Spencer’s desire to bring athletes to Colorado Springs and keep sport as a central piece of the fabric in Colorado Springs culture.
I am sure Mr. Penrose would have enjoyed talking to Kerri Walsh Jennings about her three gold medals over breakfast at the Broadmoor. Peak Vista brought the Olympian to the Breakfast of Champions event to help sustain exceptional healthcare for individuals facing access barriers. At the breakfast, Walsh Jennings spoke passionately about stepping outside your comfort zone to achieve unprecedented success. Spencer Penrose challenged tradition in Colorado Springs to establish athletic tourism in the Rockies. I am glad they both stepped outside the Wheaties box.