The POC Olympic Center is the heart of Polish sport. This is where the Polish Olympic Team takes its oath and sets off for the Olympic Games.
The Center hosts many important sporting, cultural and educational events, and carries out a wide-ranging, multi-disciplinary Olympic educational program for children and youth. Olympism, Polish sports traditions, and the links between sport and art are all promoted here.
The Olympic Center houses the POC Head Office, conference rooms, the Museum of Sport and Tourism, which has both permanent and temporary exhibitions, a cinema, the Galeria (-1) gallery of contemporary art, the Moonsfera Restaurant, the Olympic Club, gym (Zdrofit) and kids club (Gym Generation).
The Architects’ Vision
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“The projection of the building refers to the shape of a stadium. and the roof resembles the overhang of the stands. The heavily glazed middle part, which has a centrally placed stone plane with the Olympic rings motif, unequivocally identifies the building. The glass elevator shaft, which is lit up by floodlights directed skywards during the Olympics, symbolizes the Olympic torch.
Only a few materials, such as stone, glass, aluminum, wood, and galvanized steel, and concrete in the interior, were used. We wanted the building to form a backdrop for the collections presented and the events held in it, not to compete with them. The exception is the ramp that leads from street level to the exhibition area on the mezzanine floor.
This is a 77-meter ribbon having the same colour as a running track and winding around a concrete shaft, although it is detached from it and suspended on nothing more than thin steel ropes.
The venue is encircled by a stream of water that flows onto the skylight’s glass sheets by the elevator shaft and falls in a soft cascade towards the fountain near the statue of Ikaro Alato by Igor Mitoraj.”
Granting the name of Pope John Paul II
On April 12, 2005 – 10 days after the death of the Pope – the POC Board unanimously decided that Pope John Paul II would be the Patron of the Olympic Center. On May 18, 2005 – on what would have been the Polish pontiff’s 85th birthday – the Primate of Poland, Cardinal Józef Glemp, and POC President, Piotr Nurowski, solemnly unveiled plaques commemorating the naming of the Olympic Center after Pope John Paul II. On May 18, 2020, a plaque commemorating the centennial of the birth of Pope John Paul II was unveiled. Present at the ceremony were POC President Andrzej Kraśnicki, the Archbishop of Warsaw, Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, and Polish Olympic medallists Anita Włodarczyk, Robert Korzeniowski and Zbigniew Bródka.
It is not without reason that Pope John Paul II is the Patron of the Olympic Center. Sport was extremely important in his life. He practiced kayaking and skiing – not only in his youth, but even after he became Bishop of Rome. He always had athletes in mind and expressed great respect for them. On the day he became Pope, Wanda Rutkiewicz conquered Mount Everest. During his first pilgrimage to Poland, Pope John Paul II met with the Himalayan climber and said: “The Good Lord wanted us to scale the heights on the very same day.”
On June 6, 1999, while in Elbląg during a Pilgrimage to Poland, the Pope saluted athletes and everyone connected with sport, saying:
“Every kind of sport carries a rich treasure trove of values that always have to be visualized before they can materialize”.
These are the words on the commemorative plaque unveiled at the Olympic Center.