I think it’s pretty funny how people are when it comes to visiting tourist-type attractions in their home city or state. So often many of us think, “Well I live here, so I can go see that anytime.” But do we? No. Well, not always, anyway.
Such is the case with the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I’ve always mean to check it out someday, and until this summer, that someday hadn’t arrived. Yes, I love to travel and see new places, but yes, sometimes I’m also just lazy.
During a recent drive-about, we ended up in Colorado Springs and thought, hey, we should finally go check out the Olympic Training Center.
When we arrived we had just missed a tour so we had to wait another 30 minutes if we wanted to venture further than the Visitor’s Center (which doesn’t really have a ton to see besides some photos and a mini-museum-like room).
The free tour started off with a 12-minute film that I’d hoped would give a little history of the Olympics, but it was basically just a montage of heart-warming moments from the previous Olympic games in Beijing 2008. Not altogether very informative.
Following the film, we were led down the Olympic Path by our not-so-chatty guide, briefly visiting the inside of the Sport Center Gymnasiums and weightlifting and wrestling facilities, and getting an outside-looking-in peek of the Aquatics Center. Most buildings are off limits to visitors and even the ones we did go inside we didn’t see a whole lot.
Overall, if you’re super into the Olympic Games and want to see all you’re allowed to see, it can be worthwhile to visit. And you may get lucky and be able to watch a competition being held the day you go. For me, though, it wasn’t that impressive. But at least now I can say I’ve been.
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The first thing you’re greeted with from the parking lot are the Olympic rings outside the entrance. It’s a popular spot for photos.
Outside the entrance to the Visitor’s Center.
The “Olympic Strength” sculpture outside the front.
Pretty flowers outside the entrance.
Once you’re in the Visitor Center and are waiting for the tour to start, you can peruse the hundreds of images on the Photo Wall.
And then check out the Passing the Olympic Torch statue.
There’s not much in it, but check out the US Olympic Hall of Fame.
Inside the Hall of fame is an ice skater statue (among other things).
Back out in the hall I spotted a lone soccer ball.
Now on the official tour, we start out on the Olympic Path. The stairway leads to a rooftop deck with so-so views.
A training room.
Gymnasts preparing for a meet later that afternoon.
Weightlifting and wrestling facilities.
The Athlete Center viewed from afar (it’s off limits to visitors). Here, they eat, sleep and hang out.
Huge concrete buildings. The one on the left houses the Aquatic Center and the one on the right has a collection of gyms.
The Olympic Path, adorned with flags from various countries. This is, for the most part, the only path you’ll venture onto during your visit.
A peaceful pool behind the Visitor’s Center.
If you’re in Colorado Springs, here are some other good things to go see:
–Garden of the Gods (beautiful park with huge sandstone formations that rise straight out of the ground.)
–Manitou Springs (cute little town – perfect for grabbing a bite to eat)