Living Like an Athlete: The US Olympic Training Center Experience

Unless you can run 100 meters under 10 seconds or complete a gold-medal winning balance beam routine, the closest you can get to being a part of Team USA is living amongst the athletes at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center.  This week, two of the SMBA ’17 students, Jessica Anguiano and Jessica Washington got this opportunity as they attended the USOC Internship Symposium.

On Sunday, March 13th– Tuesday, March 15th, the symposium brought together students from all across the country to find out what it really takes to intern and potentially have a career with the US Olympic Committee.  The USOC’s mission is “To support U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes in achieving sustained competitive excellence while demonstrating the values of the Olympic Movement, thereby inspiring all Americans” and that mission was reflected throughout the entire event by all of the presenters.

Jessica Anguiano and Jessica Washington (right) traveled to Colorado Springs for this experience.
Jessica Anguiano and Jessica Washington (right) traveled to Colorado Springs for this experience.

The passion of the staff representing the USOC and US National Governing Bodies was palpable as they shared their experiences with the 162 attendees. Here are some of the speakers:

  • Michael Cain, USOC Director of Olympic Training Center Business Development.
  • Tim Henderson, USOC Manager of Human Resources
  • Dean Nakamura, USOC Director of International Paralympic Games
  • Gordon Kaye, Head of USA Table Tennis
  • Christie Ward, CSP Leadership Facilitator and Principal of The Impact Institute.
  • Chad McEvoy, Professor and Chair of Kinesiology at Northern Illinois University and President of the Sports Marketing Association.

Their common advice for those looking to work in sports was to network as much as possible, understand your personal brand and how to convey that to others, and understanding that your passion can be a positive tool to help you succeed in the business of sports.

The event concluded on Tuesday morning with a resume workshop and job fair featuring representatives from several departments of the USOC and other NGBs including USA Taekwondo, USA Archery, USA Weightlifting, USA Table Tennis, USA Triathlon and USA Rugby, amongst others.

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Despite the wealth of information provided by the various speakers at the symposium, the most unforgettable part of the event was actually getting to stay at the Training Center and living like a US Olympic athlete.  Attendees stayed in the same dorms, ate all meals in the cafeteria, and even got access to the some of the training facilities. It was a really great experience to live among and interact with athletes who will represent the US in this year’s Summer Olympic Games in Rio.  After this week, the attendees have a deeper understanding of the Olympic Movement, and are even more excited to see Team USA compete and hopefully bring home gold!

Written by Jessica Washington and Jessica Anguiano