By Olivia Bergren
This weekend, I visited the Olympic Training Center, in honor of the current Vancouver games being held in Canada. The building is in my hometown of Colorado Springs, so why not visit the interesting center? It is open every day of the year, except they do not recommend coming on Sundays because some of the buildings are closed that day. Plus, the tours are free!
The Olympic Training Center is for athletes that are invited by the Olympic committee to train at the center for upcoming games. The building is worth a total of $8,000,000. The building used to be a military base, then was bought by the Olympic committee as one of the four training centers in America. The athletes who do train here sometimes stay in the dorms that are on site, but others choose to live outside the center (I guess the rules are pretty strict.)
Inside the center, I saw a few of the torches they used in past games. The flame signals that the games have officially begun. (Historians say that the first flame was born in a Greek temple for the goddess Hera.) On top of the building, they keep a torch burning daily, which is surrounded by the United States and the Olympic flags.
Our tour guide happened to be an Olympic weight lifter, and had worked/trained at the center for 12 years! For one of the Olympic games, she could not compete because of an injury to her leg. She dropped a weight on it right before the games! Even after two surgeries and healing from the injury, she continued to train day after day (and work three jobs to pay for the training).
All of these athletes just stun me with their determination and talent! Have you been watching Lindsey Vonn during the Olympics in Vancouver? Even with a badly injured leg, she continued to compete, and even won some medals for the USA! A short track skater came back after cutting his leg open with a skate and getting 60 stitches; a skeleton racer came back after both her legs were broken (she was run over by a bobsled in training!); the list goes on and on.
When we visited on Saturday, the crowd we went on with the tour was a little too big to get the best experience of the center, and on Sundays the athletes are often gone, so try to plan your visit on a weekday. The Olympic Training Center is full of history, American pride, and a great reminder of how hard our athletes work to pursue their dreams… very inspirational.