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Springfield, MO — The Greater Springfield Community Olympic Development Program (CODP) is changing its name, but retaining its mission of developing athletes and growing the sports of Archery, Ice Hockey, Tennis and Volleyball.
As of Nov. 2, the program will be called the Greater Springfield Community Sports Development Program, or CSDP. The program continues to be managed by a volunteer board, in partnership with the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, which provides coaches, equipment and facilities.
The name change reflects a decision by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) to discontinue its national CODP program on Nov. 2. The USOC created the CODP in 1997 with the mission of partnering with national governing bodies and communities to provide opportunities for youth to participate in Olympic and Paralympic sports. Springfield was one of 16 CODP partners across the country. The USOC provided Olympic branding and some coach training and staff development. But the USOC provided no funding for CODP programs, which were managed at the local level.
Lori Endicott-Vandersnick, executive director of the Greater Springfield CSDP, said the only change the 600 athletes in enrolled in local programs will see is the name and the logo, which will no longer include the Olympic rings.
“We will still provide training and development to support athletes in reaching their goals, whether that’s making the middle school team, competing at the collegiate level or going to the Olympic games,” said Endicott-Vandersnick, who has headed the local program since September 2017, and who competed herself in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games in Volleyball, earning a Bronze medal in 1992.
“Athlete development has always been our top priority — providing the best coaching, facilities, and equipment we can to help athletes grow and mature. And none of that will change.”
The CSDP board learned in August that the USOC would discontinue the program. Endicott-Vandersnick said the board members, including local sports leaders, advocates and four Olympians, immediately decided to continue the program under a new name.
“It doesn’t really matter what we call the program,” said CSDP board member Reuben Tucker, who competed at the 1998 Olympic Games in Wrestling Freestyle. “The mission and purpose is still the same and is just as important: the development of our youth, through sports, in becoming better human beings. And maybe, just maybe, this generation of world-class athletes will someday fulfill their dreams of representing the USA as a member of the Olympic team.”
The Greater Springfield CODP was established in 2003. Under the new name, the program continues to include training for an average 600 athletes in Archery, Ice Hockey, Tennis and Volleyball. Through the program, athletes receive holistic mental and physical training in their sport, both in the competitive arena and off the field. Most athletes are from the Springfield area, though some travel from out-of-state to receive training. Numerous locally-trained athletes have gone on to compete at the state, regional, national and collegiate levels. Four athletes are named Athlete of the Year each October, one for each sport.
The program also reaches about 2,000 youth a year in outreach through schools, after-school programs, camps and neighborhood events.
The CSDP maintains strong working relationships with national governing bodies USA Archery, USA Hockey, the United States Tennis Association and USA Volleyball, which all emphasize athlete development and growing the sport, and have missions similar to the former CODP.
Bob Belote, Director of Parks for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, commended the board for maintaining its 15-year commitment to serving local athletes, adding that all coaches and staff remain the same through the name change.
“When the Park Board makes a commitment to its athletes, we stick with it,” said Belote. “I’m very proud that our programs will continue at the highest level. We’re losing the Olympic rings, but we’re keeping our 100-percent positive relationship with the national governing bodies.”
For more information on the Greater Springfield Community Sports Development Program, contact Executive Director Lori Endicott-Vandersnick at 417-838-1275.
For media inquiries, contact Jenny Fillmer Edwards, Public Information Administrator for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, at 417-224-5510 (mobile).