Ancient Greek cities had a place called "agora" which was a lively public space where people gathered together to share a meal, sing, have a drink, buy and sell wares, and in general, enjoy life together.

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The very first modern Olympic games were held in Greece in 1896 and it was a man named Pierre de Coubertin who is credited as being the visionary and founder of what we know today to be the modern Olympics.

It seems only fitting that, in a nod to the birthplace of modern-day Olympics, "agora" would be used in the name of a special place where sports and arts are used together to unify communities of people from all around the world.

The very first Olympic Agora was created in Tokyo during the 2020 Olympic Games. The Olympic Agoria is comprised of seven retired Olympians who are also artists. Each of the seven Olympians "create and present new, original artworks inspired by the Olympic values and the magic of winter sports.'

One of the Olympians turned artists who part of the 2022 Olympic Agoria in Beijing is Vestal native Christopher Coleman who's story of being a stand-out track star before being recruited in the sport of bobsledding for the Olympics is a fascinating one.

After he retired from competitive sports in 1987, Coleman (a Vestal High School and Binghamton University graduate) began working in the Marketing Department of the United States Olympic Committee.

Now retired, Coleman has shifted his focus to supporting his teenage son through his academic and athletic goals, Coleman has also put a good amount of focus on his artistic talents, specifically photography.

With Permission © 2021 - Christopher Coleman
With Permission © 2021 - Christopher Coleman
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Coleman is skilled in capturing the natural beauty which envelopes not only national landmarks but also cityscapes all across the United States and it is because of Coleman's skill that he was selected to be one of the seven retired Olympic athletes to showcase his photography as part of the 2022 Olympic Agoria.

In a statement, Coleman said, “Being an Olympian has 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 inspire others.”

The Southern Tier is certainly proud of Coleman not only for his athletic and artistic achievements but also for his continued positive representation of our community.

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