NEWBERRY – There are only nine other cities in the country that have developed a community Olympic program, and Newberry looks like it will be the tenth. The Easton Newberry Sports Complex is in the process of becoming a Community Olympic Department Center (CODC) devoted to archery. Just one other city, Springfield, Mo., has such a commitment to developing a high-quality archery program.

Three representatives from the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) visited with about 60 people at a luncheon on Monday at the sports complex. The representatives evaluated the facility and assessed the value of its partnership with the national committee as part of the application process to become a designated COCD.

Easton Foundation submitted a business plan, and USA Archery, the national governing body for archery, was in support, said Alicia McConnell, chairman of the USOC. The next step is negotiation to finalize the development of the program.

“We are pleased with everything that the complex has done. We met with some of the Easton Foundation folks and reviewed the contracts, so it’s really just a matter of time. It wouldn’t take more than a couple of months,” McConnell said.

The complex has already set itself up for success by providing opportunities for all ages to become involved in a top-level archery program, and the Olympic designation will enhance its current status and bring notoriety.

“We hope to bring more kids into the pipeline of archery with the expectation of representing the U.S. at a national event or the end-all-be-all dream of representing the country at the Olympics,” McConnell said.

“With the sponsorship of the committee we can really focus on the athletes and reach out to elementary, middle and high schools,” said Mayor Bill Conrad. “The idea is to connect with thousands to reach a few with Olympic caliber.”

Becoming a Community Olympic Department Center gains the sponsorship of the USOC. As a CODC facility, the complex may have the opportunity to sell sports equipment with the Olympic rings on it and would have access to a staff liaison with the USOC to offer mentoring to coaches.

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