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Life at the Olympic Training Center
By Hunter Gallogly, Scholastic Kids Press Corps

Hunter Gallogly weighs in with a giant chess piece at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Hunter Gallogly weighs in with a giant chess piece at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
(Photo: Suzanne Freeman)
I believe life as an Olympic athlete is exciting, but it's certainly not easy. Athletes have to undergo many hardships. They are often away from their families, and they have to train hard every day. But there are many benefits too, one of which is living at the training center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

I was able to take a tour of the Olympic Training Center during a Media Summit held in October 2005. The USOC Media Summit was held to introduce the athletes to journalists before the 2006 Winter Olympics in February in Torino, Italy.

At the training center facilities I was able to see dorm rooms that the athletes, such as Apolo Anton Ohno and the short-track speed-skating team, call home while they are training. Each dorm unit consists of two to three bedrooms, with the athletes sharing a bathroom and a living room. These rooms were recently refurbished to improve living conditions. Heavy curtains have been added to the rooms to enable the athletes to sleep during the day if they need to.

All the athletes eat in the Olympic Training Center's cafeteria. The cafeteria serves healthful, high-carbohydrate foods that give the athletes energy and help with their power and endurance. Olympians need to eat a lot of food because their activity level is so high that they burn calories very quickly.

The Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs can almost be seen as its own little town. Not only is housing offered, which is located across the back of the USOC property, but also food, an Olympics store, doctors, a psychologist, physical therapists, and trainers. The Olympic Training Center also has some entertainment. Athletes can use computers, watch TV, and borrow movies and music. I particularly like the giant chessboard outside the cafeteria. The chess pieces are all about three feet tall!

In talking with the athletes, I received advice on how to handle the hardships of Olympic training from Apolo Anton Ohno, a gold medalist at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.

"Just have fun with it!" he said.

Photos, left to right: © Rick Rickman/NewSport/NewSport/Corbis; © Joe Cavaretta/AP Wide World.