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Author Endorses Rocky Statue
Rocky Statue.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- The Pulitzer Prize winning author of "Rocky Stories", the upcoming collection of inspirational stories about individuals running the famous Rocky steps, has officially endorsed the Philadelphia Art Commission's decision today to place the 12-foot-high Rocky statue at the foot of the Philadelphia Art Museum steps.

Michael Vitez, said, "I hope that the statue does what it is intended to do: complement the experience of people who come to run and celebrate their own achievements and dreams, inspired by the original movie. I think the location the city has chosen should allow it to serve that function perfectly. Time will tell."

Vitez, also a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter, thinks that the bottom rather than top of the steps is the right place for the statue because there it will not overshadow the runners who come daily to celebrate their hopes and dreams. Whether or not to permanently place the statue at the Art Museum--the site of Rocky's famous run before his championship fight in the classic film, which marks its 30th anniversary this year--has been debated for years. Art enthusiasts are against its placement while film devotees and civic boosters weigh in for it.

The statue is scheduled to be placed by this weekend, when Sylvester Stallone will be in Philadelphia for a charity event.

Given his year at the steps researching the book, Vitez writes, "I have come to believe, devoutly, that the statue does not belong at the top of the steps. The people who run every hour of every day are the best tribute, the living tribute, to the power of the movie's message. They are the ones who should be (and are every day) at the top of the steps."

Stallone himself is well aware of the powerful symbolism of the steps. In every Rocky sequel, Rocky revisits them. And he will again in the new movie Rocky Balboa (scheduled for release in December). In the foreword to the Rocky Stories book, Stallone writes: "You can't borrow Superman's cape. You can't use the Jedi laser sword. But the steps are there. The steps are accessible. And standing up there, you kind of have a piece of the Rocky pie."

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