Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The Winter Olympic Games get underway on Friday... and plenty of American athletes prepared for competition in San Diego County. Joining us on Morning Edition is the director of the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Tracy Lamb. He tells us how the center is helping the U-S bring home the gold.
PAMELA DAVIS (Host): The Winter Olympic Games get underway on Friday... and plenty of American athletes prepare for the competition in San Diego County. Joining us on Morning Edition is Tracy Lamb, the director of the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. You don’t think of San Diego as a place where we train for the Winter Olympics, what kind of athletes have been training in the South Bay?
TRACY LAMB (Director of the Olympic Training Center, Chula Vista): Well in the South Bay, because it takes all types of training to get ready for Olympic games, we’ve worked with sports from bobsledding skeleton, luge, speed skating, snowboarding, freestyle skiing, Alpine skiing just to name a few. I mean they all come here for the different things that the South Bay has to offer with cross-training opportunities.
DAVIS: What’s the advantage to training in San Diego over the other places?
LAMB: The training center in San Diego is unique in so many ways besides the 150-acres of sports’ playground that we have here. We have a great team of professionals to support the athletes and besides that, it’s the great San Diego weather and all the other opportunities to not only focus in on your training but it’s a good area to get out and see the ocean and get a view of the beauty and distraction that actually gives you … so that when you’re training you’re super focused, but when you’re away you can really relax.
DAVIS: So, how’s technology really giving the U.S. team an edge?
LAMB: The Luge team has been training here using the wind tunnel out here in California just a little bit north of this training center. Doing a lot of studies about drag and body position so that they can get an advantage there. NASCAR which is also very big here in California, Bo-Dyn a project that was developed just a few years ago. We were always never really doing well in bobsled. Since the 1950’s, we had not won a bobsled metal. And then the Bo-Dyn Project working with NASCAR developed the Bo-Dyn bobsled that you’ll see competing in Vancouver. The Night Train with driver Steve Holcomb finally won the first World Championship last year ending about a 50-year medal drought for the United States and that Bo-Dyn sled and the technology developed through NASCAR has given the American team a winning edge as we get ready for Vancouver.
DAVIS: Vancouver’s not home turf, but it’s close to the U.S. Does this provide an advantage for our athletes?
LAMB: Oh, it really does. The time zone, the meals, the ability for family and friends to really get there. It’s not such a … as far away as Italy or Russia, where the next games will be. So it really provides a real sense of North America, being able to be around family and friends, the same type of food. It will give our athletes kind of a home field advantage.
DAVIS: What’ll be different than in past winter games?
LAMB: Well, for the first time in many years in some of the sports we’ve never competed well in, we’ve got some real medal contenders. Let alone going with figure skating and Rachael Flatts from Del Mar where we’ve always been good contenders. Women’s ice hockey, we’ve always got a great, strong team and who knows what will happen this year with our men’s team? We’re going with sports that we’ve never really been good in. So, it really is a balanced out our program where we have chances in sports where we’ve never had chances to medal in and we have legitimate contenders now.
DAVIS: Tracy Lamb is the director of the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. For more information about U.S. Olympic athletes, check out the Web site: teamusa.org.