History

History

Our Center was the result of the commitment and dedication of our visionary founder, who in a pivotal moment in the history of the Puerto Rican Olympic movement stood bravely in defense of its ideals when political dilemmas between Government objectives and Sports were generated in the years 1980 and 1984.During those years, Mr. Rieckehoff, together with a group of athletes requested financial contributions from citizens through a fund-raising campaign that was named “The Olympic Crusade.” The people of Puerto Rico responded with such generosity, and the campaign was so successful, that with a part of the funds collected Puerto Rico was able to send a delegation to the Central American and Caribbean Games of 1982 in Havana, Cuba and with the remainder of the funds the first 80 acres of the current facilities were acquired.

The Albergue Olímpico was founded in 1983 by the leader of the Olympic movement, Germán Rieckehoff Sampayo, after visiting several sports training institutions in his travels around the world. At that time, Rieckehoff was the President of the Olympic Committee of Puerto Rico and a member of the International Olympic Committee. In 1985 the Government of the Honorable Rafael Hernandez Colón guaranteed economic allocations to the Albergue Olímpico and sports sovereignty of the country. For the first time, through Law No 3 of 1985, the Legislature placed the preparation of Puerto Rican athletes in the hands of the federations and the National Olympic Committee without the direct intervention of the Government.

Thanks to the efforts of our founder, the remaining acres were acquired with the support of public and private institutions. The companies that contributed to the success of the project in the first stage include the brewery Schaeffer, the Multi-Insurance Cooperative Converse; Esso Standard Oil; Burger King; Laderle Eli Lilly; Yaucono; Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola. The first phase of the Albergue Olímpico opened on June 21, 1986 (International Olympic day) at an approximate cost of nine million dollars. Official acts were realized, with the presence of Mr. Juan Antonio Samaranch, then President of the Olympic International Committee (CIO); Mr. Mario Vazquez Raña, President of the Pan-American Sports Organization (ODEPA); the then Governor, Hon. Rafael Hernandez Colón and other government and sports officials.

In 1989 the Department of education of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico inaugurated in our facilities the specialized community school in sports of the Eugenio Guerra Cruz Albergue Olímpico (ECEDAO), a boarding school attended by young people from across the country, comprising grades from the seventh to the twelfth.

In 1992, the Albergue Olímpico was named after its founder and became the property of the Olympic Trust Administration (Law No 12 of June 12, 1992). Mr. Richard Carrión, Member of the IOC in Puerto Rico, and Chairman of its Finance Committee, is the President of the Olympic trust, and Mr. Eugenio Guerra Valdés is the Executive Director. The Albergue Olímpico also has an Administration and Development Council, chaired by Atty.. Samuel Cespedes. This Council was chaired by Ms. Irma Gonzalez, widow of Rieckehoff, until the time of his death in 2006.