Ever wonder what goes on at the Olympic Training Center when the actual Olympics are taking place?
It turns out, a little downtime and a lot of house keeping.
But things are still bustling on Boulder Street leading up to the Aug. 5 opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, according Aron McGuire, the training center’s director.
“I’d like to say we’re slow here and golfing a lot lately, but we’ve been extremely busy,” McGuire said. “This time of year is really exciting for us, obviously leading into the Olympic and Paralympic Games, we have a lot of those athletes here training for trials.”
Trials to make Team USA are “front-end heavy” this year in order to get all qualifying done before next month, he said.
“Typically programs are evenly distributed throughout the year,” he said. “This year, January through August, we’re really busy. In terms of athletes onsite, things slow down once the Games get going. Those who made the team will go to Rio, and those who haven’t usually use this time to recover, have down time and go back to their hometowns.”
McGuire said there are about 450-500 athletes at the center at any given time, and about 110 are resident athletes who call the center home.
About 50 of those athletes have already qualified for Rio, he said.
McGuire said, even without athletes living at the training center, visitor numbers go up during Olympic and Paralympic years. The OTC even coincided a renovation of its visitors center with the start of the games. The new look premiered this month.
“Those who have already taken our tour will get a brand-new experience,” he said. “The renovation is very interactive, with an IMAX-style movie theater that’s 180 degrees. … It’s an immersive experience of the Olympics and Paralympics through the ages.”
There are three national training centers, with others in Lake Placid, N.Y., and Chula Vista, Calif. McGuire said they all focus on different things, and Colorado Springs’ specialty is indoor summer sports, track and cycling. Bobsled, skeleton, skiing and snowboard athletes will also train here from time to time, he said.
Once the athletes are gone and the games are over, McGuire said, the facility will undergo maintenance and cleaning.
“We’ll have a couple months where things are a little slower, but it will pick up again this fall,” he said.
After all, 2018 is just around the corner.