US Olympic Athletes (not counting Paralympians) rounded up 121 medals this year, 46 of which were gold. We set 3 world records, and just over half of the medals were won by women. (Woop woop!) (Stats courtesy of Team USA’s website.)
Besides that, Colorado Springs has been dubbed the US Olympic City. I personally attended the Paralympic sendoff, and have noted the huge banners displayed downtown near the Olympic Committee Headquarters (yeah, we house those too.)
That aside, the majority of our cottages are walking distance from the Olympic Training Center! So despite the manifold attractions of Colorado in the autumn, I took an afternoon at the OTC to get a tour. What. A. Tour.
Disclaimer: some of the tour details I was privy to were VIP only. Unfortunately, the VIP tickets are $75. VIP specialties will be noted with an asterisk. All other tour features are available for $12 per adult!
We started off with a beautiful film. The 15 minute movie talked about the Olympic athletic community. People who train here can find friends, cohorts, cheerleaders. After being set apart from their usual crowd of high-school/college athletes, they’re able to find people to compete with, fellow athletes who understand all the struggles. I think that’s beautiful.
The walking portion of the tour began with the flag-lined sidewalk. Represented here are each and every country participating in the Olympics.
Next stop was the workout center. Dozens of weights in all sizes, other strength-training machines in rows, medicine balls, even metal-framed sleds with adjustable weights that bobsledders could push back and forth on imitation grass. There was another imitation grass slope up to the second floor, which held cardio machines, and a printed track outline on the floor.
We stopped by the nutritionists kitchen*, where athletes can learn to prepare meals with the correct micro nutrient balances (read: protein, carbs, fats.) Stainless steel, antibacterial surfaces gleamed throughout the room – safer counters to prevent cross-contamination, in case of allergies.
We saw the empty pool (the pool is only emptied once in four years; a rare occasion!) We passed by the shooting range, used for 22 handguns and rifles. The shotgun range is down by Fort Carson, so that it can be outdoors.
The Basketball gym was being used for a Gymnasts camp, complete with muscled figures spinning themselves balanced on their hands, jumping into flips, and performing handstands.
Another VIP tour feature was a walk though the reception area of Sports Psychology. I guess being a potential Olympic athlete can be stressful… Figures! Between onsite doctors, psychologists, nutritionists, trainers, cafeteria cooks, and long-term stay suites, COS is very well outfitted to prepare the Olympians who represent our country.
Finally, the highlight! I was shown by the Altitude Control room! There’s a set of cardio machines and even a sleeping cot in a room that can be controlled for altitude, oxygen levels, and humidity. Thus, athletes have the ability to see how their performance will compare to actual game sites… like Rio.
Overall, the tour gives locals and visitors alike a clear view into the living and training quarters of athletes who train in Colorado Springs. Be consider this fantastic tour on your list of activities for your vacation!