The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee has some werious clout and that means venues whose name includes the word “Olympic” might be forced to make a change soon.
Case in point: The USOPC is cracking down on the Arlington Heights (Ill.) Park District by pressuring local officials to rename its Olympic Indoor Swim Center. The facility, which is undergoing a major renovation and expansion,will officially be called the Arlington Ridge Center when it reopens in 2020.
According to the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, the park district announced the new name about a year receiving a letter from the Olympic committee’s intellectual property division “compelling”the name change.
“For the park district, the pressure began with a June 2018 communication in which the USOC cited a 1978 law, the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, which gives the committee broad powers to control uses of the Olympic name and logos,” writes Christopher Placek of the newspaper. “Under the federal law, the USOC can bring a civil action for trademark infringement against any organization using the name without the committee’s authorization.
“The letter said the park district could keep the name if there was evidence it had been there before 1950,” Placek’s report continues, adding that the Olympic indoor pool opened in 1970. “The district and USOC mutually agreed to a Dec. 31, 2019, deadline to rename the facility in concert with the completion of a $17 million renovation and expansion of the building.”
That building will include a double-gymnasium, a second-floor indoor walking track, a 30-by-50-foot wellness pool, a fitness area and multi-purpose rooms.
Arlington Heights park officials are putting a positive spin on the name change. “This rebranding solidifies the commitment of the district to its residents’overall health and wellbeing,”interim executive director Steve Scholten said in a press release.
“Obviously the new name kind of defines a multi-purpose recreation facility,”Brian Meyer, the park district’s director of recreation and facilities, told the Daily Herald. “I think we’re happy with the new name.”
According to the paper, Arlington Heights officials pointed to other facilities and companies branded with “Olympic” — including nearby Olympic Park, operated by the Schaumberg Park District, where executive director Tony LaFrenere said he never received a request to stop using that name.
Meyer told the Daily Herald that the Olympic committee’s intellectual property division is a small operation that addresses issues as it is made aware of them.