Olympian artist
Christopher Coleman (USA)

© Jennifer Wilson

Christopher Coleman enjoys capturing the natural beauty of the State of Colorado as well as famous national landmarks and cityscapes across America. A two-time Olympian at the 1992 and 1994 Olympic Winter Games (Albertville, France, and Lillehammer, Norway) in four-man bobsleigh, Coleman hung up his sprint shoes in 1998 and has since embraced photography with the same enthusiasm as when he competed at international level.

He is self-taught, and believes that the best camera is the one in your hand. He enjoys shooting with mobile phones and full-frame mirrorless cameras, and edits his photos at home in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Since retiring from the United States Olympic Committee, where he worked in the Marketing Department, Coleman’s focus has been on supporting and assisting his teenage son to realise his academic and athletic dreams.

© IOC/ STRAHM, Jean-Jacques

Coleman is originally from Binghamton, New York, and attended Vestal High School in New York State where he ran track and field. He then went on to Binghamton University, where he earned 5-All-American honours in Track & Field. He graduated with degrees in Economics/Philosophy as well as an MBA in Marketing.

© IOC / MAEDER, Jean-Paul

Artworks

Pathway
Pathway
Pathway
Garden of the God Park – This is one of the most popular destinations in central Colorado Springs, with over 21 miles of trails that Olympians, Paralympians, hopefuls and the public use for running and hiking, and it is the photographers’ favourite place for landscape photos. “Pathway” is inspired by Olympians and Paralympians who inspire youth to be the best they can be. In this photograph, my son is running through the park, and the symbolism is that he has chosen not to necessarily follow in my sport, but to choose his own, applying the values of excellence, friendship and respect along the way.
2021 - Christopher Coleman
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Training run
Training run
Training run
Colorado Springs, Colorado, is known as “Olympic City, USA” not only because it is home to the United States Olympic Committee, but also because of the beautiful landscape surrounding the city where athletes train throughout the year. Olympian Samantha Schultz (Auchterberg) on a training run through Red Rock Canyon in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This photo represents the persistence and dedication athletes possess to get up and train every day to achieve their quest for excellence.
2021 - Christopher Coleman
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One step at a time
One step at a time
One step at a time
Manitou Incline - Teams that train in Colorado Springs often make a stop at the Manitou Springs Incline as part of their conditioning.  The Manitou Incline is a 2,768-step hike with an elevation increase of over 2,000 feet (0.61km) in just under a mile. Speed skaters, boxers, bobsled athletes and triathletes are a just a small sample of those that have tackled the Incline. In fact, eight-time winter gold medallist Apolo Ohno and his teammates trained and competed against triathletes over who could set record times. In this photo, two-time Paralympian in alpine skiing Tyler Carter is exhibiting the determination needed for anyone taking on this challenge.
2021 - Christopher Coleman
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Q&A with the artist

  • Q. Are there parallels in your approach to your art and your approach to your sport? Or do you find that the two dimensions bring/brought out totally different facets of your personality?
    • A. There are parallels. In sport you’re training physically and repeating a task over and over again trying to achieve perfection. In art, you exercise the mind and, through practice and repetition, learn to express yourself through different media (sculpture, painting, photography, music, etc.).

  • Q. If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
    • A. I would tell myself to trust and listen to that inner voice more.

  • Q. To you personally, what does being an Olympian mean – how does it define your approach to life and how you view yourself and the world?
    • A. Being an Olympian means that I’ve dedicated myself towards a goal, worked hard, had many failures, but struggled and persevered to earn the right to compete at the highest level in my sport for my country. It's provided me a template of excellence that I’ve been able to transfer into other parts of my non-sporting life, as well as to communicate and to inspire others.

  • Q. Do you have a message for the people reading this?
    • A. I would like to encourage all people, but in particular youth, to surround themselves with positive influences and to pursue that which makes them happy and brings them joy. If you can find joy in effort, that will take you a long way in life.

  • Q. How do you explain to people that the Olympic Games are more than the sporting competition?
    • A. I like to tell people that the Olympic Games are a metaphor for daily life. It is a struggle one encounters, en route towards a goal. Along the way you work hard on your body and mind, make friends, make mistakes, have successes and failures. At the end, you find out that the bonds that you make on the journey and lessons learned are the ultimate prize.

  • Q. What do the Olympic values mean to you?
    • A. The Olympic values are the foundation in the journey towards excellence.

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