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As Director of the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center (OTC), Aron McGuire knows what it takes to go for the gold. Between overseeing a staff who manage operations and facilities to the food and nutrition services at the USOC’s flagship training center, McGuire knows it’s critical to set the pace for elite competitors to train successfully.
Bobsledding World Cup Competitor and former member of the USA National Bobsled Team, Senior Director Aron McGuire (@aronmcguire) spoke at the Colorado Springs Chamber Connect lunch to discuss the goals and activities of the OTC, emphasizing the importance of shaving a fraction of a second off an athlete's time. A lot of resources at the OTC go into improving an athletes performance by a split second, because that may be the difference between Gold and Silver or medaling and not medaling.
The OTC chips away at these fractions of a second through Sports Science, Strength and Conditioning, Housing, Dining, Coaching, Training Facilities and Sports Medicine. The OTC can house up to 500 athletes, with many training in their hometown and visiting Colorado Springs several times per year or, collectively making about 10,000 athlete visits per year. By recruiting top experts in coaching, nutrition, sports medicine, psychology (even grief counseling when an athletic career is suddenly truncated by an injury), physiology and bringing them together in a cutting-edge facility, the OTC supports athletes in all respects.
For example, in the Teaching Kitchen, the OTC educates athletes on nutrition to prepare them for international travel, while providing team building. In the High Altitude Training Center, equipment can measure sweat rate and composition, core body temperature, heart rate, foot-strike frequency, biomechanics and psychological perception of effort. It also brings athletes together in a unique place where each can learn from others' experiences. For instance, Olympic Fencer Jimmy Moody was surprised when Olympic Bobsledder Curt Tomasevicz was able to do the unexpected and immediately score two points, despite being a fencing novice.
Perplexed at first, the renowned fencer regathered himself and won the scrimmage, but reasoned that the bobsledder's initial success came from consistent training in the explosive power starts needed for high-speed bobsled racing and realized that he could learn from this as well. No one would have thought to pair a bobsledder with a fencer, but the two continue to train together with impressive results.
Another role of the OTC, in the midst of Olympic City, USA, is to keep the spirit of the Olympics alive and thriving in the off-season, the many months between Olympic headlines when the next Games seem far off. A recent initiative was the creation of special NBC Sports program called Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful which chronicles rising stars on their journey to qualify for the Olympics. The first episode was was a hit despite its late Friday night scheduling, so a new episode is now headed into production for a prime-time debut.
Aron concluded his talk with a summary of Team USA's performance at the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games in which the USA finished fourth behind Norway, Germany and Canada and first in the Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. In both Games, Team USA scored a number of firsts, and its determination was illustrated best in a stirring highlights reel McGuire played for the Chamber event.
Tom McClintock is the owner and founder of Relationship Martech.