United States Olympic Committee Names World Sport Chicago as Community Olympic Development Program Partner

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (December 9, 2010) – World Sport Chicago (WSC), a non-profit organization devoted to promoting sport to the youth of Chicago, has been selected by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) as a Community Olympic Development Program (CODP) partner. In addition to supporting Olympic and Paralympic sport programs in Chicago, World Sport Chicago’s role as a CODP will focus on research into the role sports can play in improving the situation for youth in America’s cities.

The research will be conducted and managed by World Sport Chicago’s Urban Youth Sports Institute. The Institute will look at the impact sport has on individuals and communities, and help bridge the gap from research findings to actions for policy makers, sports organizations, coaches, parents and participants. Additionally, research will focus on providing a link between sports organizations and major universities to obtain insight and recommendations for improvements.

“World Sport Chicago is pleased to be selected by the USOC as a CODP partner as we continue to focus on making a significant global contribution to sport as a social development tool,” Pat Ryan, chairman of World Sport Chicago, said. “We have teamed with local universities to begin research efforts in understanding how sport can reduce youth violence and how coaches in urban centers can be better prepared to help youth address the many challenges they face. We will continue to partner with academic institutes to understand how participation in sport can be used as a catalyst for social change.”

WSC will share research findings from the Urban Youth Sport Institute with WSC community based programs, partner organizations and the USOC. Results from the Institute’s first major research project will be announced soon.

“The USOC applauds World Sport Chicago’s efforts to grow the Olympic and Paralympic Movement in greater Chicago, as well as to provide research that will positively impact youth around the country,” Alicia McConnell, USOC director of athlete services, said. “They have already initiated innovative ways to create collaborative partnerships in urban environments to develop opportunities for youth to participate in sport, and we look forward to working with them as a Community Olympic Development Program.”

WSC has exposed more than 30,000 youth to Olympic and Paralympic sport through clinics and programs in archery, badminton, gymnastics, weightlifting, wrestling, swimming, track & field, Paralympic judo, Paralympic boccia and others. WSC will continue to work with the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Public Schools and other organizations to provide new and expanded sport programs to the youth of Chicago.

WSC is now one of eight current CODPs, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta (Atlanta, Ga.), Central Cross Country Ski Association (Verona, Wis.), Midwest Weightlifting Club (Moorestown, N.J.), the Moorestown Weightlifting Club (Moorestown, N.J.), San Antonio Sports (San Antonio, Texas), the Springfield Greene Country Parks and Recreation (Springfield, Mo.) and the Utah Athletic Foundation (Park City, Utah).

The Community Olympic Development Program, in collaboration with the National Governing Bodies, develops community sport programs and impacts developmental athlete performance by building partnerships, accessing community resources, and leveraging USOC resources to create, develop and enhance Olympic sport feeder systems.

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