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UWL Student Interns at US Olympic Training Center

Melissa Petroff, Sports Reporter

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Just as students, faculty, and visitors of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse get to have a view of the bluffs while walking on campus, employees, visitors, and the athletes who represent the United States of America get a similar view at the Olympic Training Center at Colorado Springs – although their “bluffs” are about 14,000 feet high.  

UWL Sport Management senior Alyssa Shultz spent the last four months at the training center in Colorado Springs. She accepted an internship there in the Sport Business Development department. As part of the Sport Management program, students are required to complete a 12-credit internship before they graduate.  

“My favorite place at the training center was the Ted Stevens building,” she stated. “It houses so many Olympians, every time you walked in the door you were motivated to work hard. You realize that this place directly impacts Olympians and how they compete”. 

The USOC has hosted symposiums at the Colorado Springs Training Center. This year was the fifth time hosting a symposium. Each one gives attendees an inside look at “the team behind the team” and an experience to network with various people at the USOC and its partners. Shultz had a direct role in the planning and execution of the symposium this year. One UWL student attended this year, the Sport Management program hopes to send more students to more of the symposiums at the training center. 

The United States Olympic Training Center at Colorado Springs is one of three in the country – the other locations are in Lake Placid, New York and at Chula Vista in San Diego, California. The one in Colorado Springs, however, was the first to be built and has also been the headquarters of the United States Olympic Committee since 1977. 

The Olympic Training Centers work to provide athletes and National Governing Bodies with the resources needed to make each successful. A National Governing Body is an organization that oversees all aspects of their sport. They are responsible for training developing athletes, a number who will make the Olympic team. USA Basketball, US Ski and Snowboard, and USA Weightlifting are just a few examples of NGBs. There are currently 47 NGB members of the USOC.  

The training center at Colorado Springs boasts state-of-the-art facilities that hundreds of athletes from their respective NGBs train at daily. The Ted Stevens Sport Services Center acts as a central hub for the athletes. Ted Stevens serves athletes in the areas of sports medicine, strength and conditioning, and sport sciences. Some features within these areas include musculoskeletal ultrasound, X-ray, and rehabilitation machines which includes an anti-gravity treadmill – athletes can adjust reductions in impact to heal from injuries quicker and increase their range of motion. 

In this same building, athletes can train in The High Altitude Training Center. It is already a plus that athletes can train at such a high altitude of 6,000 feet above sea level in Colorado Springs. With the technology of The High Altitude Center, it can adjust in altitude, temperature, and humidity to give athletes the environment they need to practice in for their next competition. 

Other facilities at the OTC include the Athlete Center, Sports Centers I and II, and the Aquatics Center. The Athlete Center offers housing and meals for athletes and other short-term programs that come to the site. The Sports Centers are multi-sport venues that offer training for sports on Olympic and Paralympic sides as well as for the Pan American Games. The Olympic Shooting Center on site is the largest indoor shooting facility in the Western Hemisphere.  

Club sports from the Colorado Springs area also have the opportunity to use the facilities. Various programs and camps also take place at the training center, dormitories are located on the premises as well.  

These dormitories also house interns, where Shultz stayed during her time there. Not only are the facilities at the training center top-notch, but it also has a cauldron that lights up to represent the Olympic flame. “It’s really unique because other than the Olympic flame in Greece, and the flame that is lit for Games at the host country, the Olympic Training Center cauldron is lit, making it one of three in world – not only for the Olympic Games but also for the Paralympic games,” Shultz stated.  

She says that working for Team USA at the Olympic Training Center was a time to see firsthand the athletes tell their stories and get excited to talk about their journey – they all are proud to be a part of Team USA. 

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UWL Student Interns at US Olympic Training Center