Posted by: Kath Usitalo | August 9, 2012

On the Offbeat Path: A Place For Olympian Artists

Birdman by Olympic fencer Peter Schifrin overlooks the river outside of the Art of the Olympians gallery in Fort Myers, Florida


What do Olympians do when they’re not running, jumping, skating or swinging at shuttlecocks?

Some of them pick up a paint brush, clay or camera—or, like the late discus champion Al Oerter, the tool of his Olympic trade—and create art. Oerter was a gold medalist in four consecutive Olympics who eventually used his discus to splash paint on canvas.

Cathy Oerter and one of her late husband Al’s discus paintings with Olympic champion long jumper Bob Beamon, CEO of Art of the Olympians

Oerter wanted to establish a place that encourages and promotes the Olympic ideal of achieving a balance between sports and the arts. He knew that many former Olympians, like himself, turned to art as a form of expression, and he envisioned a museum and gallery for their creations.

His concept was realized a couple of years after his death with the 2010 opening of Art of the Olympians, a non-profit center for exhibits and educational activities in Fort Myers, Florida.

Read about the museum and gallery in my story at

Olympic judo medalist and sculptor Emanuela Pierantozzi has several pieces on display

Art of the Olympians is one of a handful of organizations permitted to display the USA Olympic rings



  1. Hmm… I find this rather interesting.

    • It is… all of the art is not of the same caliber, but the point is that the athletes are exploring the arts and creating, and bringing balance to their lives.
      When I win the lotto I want to buy that Golf painting for Gordie.

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