Colorado is home to the United States Olympic and Paralympic Training Centers (OPTCS), where athletes can train and live for a few months or years preceding Olympic events.
The Colorado OPTC is a huge, sprawling complex spread over hundreds of acres. It is able to provide all facilities like housing, training, dining, and recreational facilities to over 500 athletes and coaches at any time!
The selection procedure that decides who gets to train at this complex happens at the home country of these athletes and coaches. The National Governing Body of their home country selects these athletes, and they are sent with their respective coaches to the facility. Read on to learn more.
The Colorado Springs OPTC is one of the two OPTCs in the country, the other one being situated at Lake Placid, New York. This was the first one to be built among the two, and has been the home of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee since 1978.
These Olympic and Paralympic Training Centers are the only facilities for Olympic training in the world that are open to the general public for tourism. There have been studies that have shown that training in high altitudes improves results when it comes to endurance and training.
It is said that athletes acquire more red blood cells that help their blood carry more oxygen. When these athletes return to normal altitude, the excess oxygen in their blood gives them more endurance and shows better results.
For this reason, the Colorado Springs training center was built on an elevated ground. The former Ent Air Force Base was chosen as the location for the construction for the same purpose.
We already spoke about how the complex is available for housing and dining hundreds of athletes, but the most important parts of the complex are its arrangements for sports training.
The Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center has support for Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American, and Parapan American Sports. The Ted Stevens Sports Services Center is a state of the art training center that opened in July 2014, and is the central hub of activity for all the athletes.
It has facilities in sports medicine, including the latest medical technology, a steam sauna, and hot and cold plunge tubs. Strength and conditioning is offered by a team of world-class coaches and an indoor agility field and a weight training area.
There is also a sports sciences center, that helps athletes achieve their best output with a combination of sport dietetics, technology, physiology, and psychology. The Athlete Center offers facilities like housing and meals for all the users. It also contains the dining hall and multiple meeting rooms.
There are two sports centers on the venue, the first one containing three basketball courts, a gymnastics center, a boxing venue, and a judo training area. The second sports center features three basketball courts and a wrestling center.
Besides these facilities, the OPTC boasts of an aquatic center with an Olympic size swimming pool, a shooting center with multiple ranges for shooting practice and events, an Olympic fencing Center, and a Velodrome for track cyclists and roller sports.
The Bottom Line
Olympic and Paralympic Training Centers in the United States are a big deal, considering their state of the art facilities, great locations, and huge complexes. The Colorado Springs complex, being the first one and the main one, is an important landmark in the country.
Being open to tourists makes it a highly coveted spot, and it is visited by 140,000 people every year! Hopefully, this article has given you a comprehensive idea about one of the country’s proudest locations.