Discover how a state-of-the-art training facility shapes world-class athletes
In addition to the athletes who live and train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, the complex welcomes approximately 130,000 visitors each year and offers guided tours daily. Pictured are Andrew Amayo (left) and Jack Basche (right).
Article and photos by Lynne Marsala Basche
Olympic enthusiasts may not know the event’s theme song is called “Bugler’s Dream,” but there is no doubt that at the first sounds of “Bum, bum, ba, bum, bum, bum, bum” excitement grows in anticipation of watching athletes from around the world compete for Olympic gold at the summer and winter games. At the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in downtown Colorado Springs, fans can get a glimpse into what it takes to become a world-class athlete.
With stunning views of Pikes Peak, the 35-acre facility on the former location of the Ent Air Force Base is one of only three campuses in the U.S. created by the U.S. Olympic Committee for Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Colorado Springs was chosen because of its high elevation, which was believed to improve training, and has been the home of the U.S. Olympic Committee since 1978.
Guided tours are offered throughout the year and begin at the newly-renovated visitor’s center. Each tour starts with an inspiring 15-minute video presentation honoring the heritage and legacies of Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Clips from live television broadcasts not only celebrate the athletes but also show the level of training commitment involved in preparing for the Olympics. The general tour takes guests on a 45-minute walking tour of the complex. For visitors wanting a behind-the-scenes tour, including lunch in the athlete cafeteria, a three-hour VIP experience led by one of the athletes is available. While it would be fun to choose a particular tour guide, athletes are subject to availability.
Back at the visitor’s center, guests can become immersed in an interactive rotunda with five high-definition projection screens displaying highlights of Team USA’s athletes who train at the USOTC. From there, visitors can make their way to the Hall of Fame, which honors some of the most spectacular athletes in U.S. Olympic history. (Visitors are not permitted to wander the complex on their own, but they can peruse the visitor’s center and gift shop without a guide.)
The USOTC visitor center displays artifacts used in previous Olympic games, including skates, medals, and even a bobsled.
Athletes must be invited to attend the facility, and they must be in the top 10 percent of their sport. Athletes can live and train at the facility while they prepare for the upcoming Olympic games. The USOTC houses two Olympic-size swimming pools, as well as practice facilities for a variety of competitive sports, including volleyball, fencing, gymnastics, weightlifting and wrestling. State-of-the-art training technology is used, such as a high-altitude center, where environmental conditions of any competition site can be replicated. Also, the USOTC provides Olympic hopefuls with performance services, such as in-house coaching, sports medicine and science, strength and conditioning, psychology, physiology and nutrition assistance and performance technology.
Learn more, become inspired and marvel at our athletes at the USOTC, which exists solely on sponsorships and donations as opposed to being government funded – and maybe watch the next U.S. gold medal winner prepare for the games. Visit www.teamusa.org/about-the-usoc/olympic-training-centers/csotc/about for more information.