What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Olympic Training: Part 3

This post was supposed to go up last Saturday, but someone played a "practical joke" on me and threw my laptop into the state-of-the-art pool. The person responsible "accidentally" fell from a high flight of stairs and I now have a new laptop.

Apologies for the delay. Here is the post.

I awoke to the sound of screaming girls.

And guys.

It was 6:30, and everyone was starting to get up. Yesterday went down in (swimming) history as a day of infamy. Today went down in history as a day of pain. Our muscles were tight and cramped from the "kicking sets" of the swimming workout (and running from the guards who wanted the duckie back). Our biceps were swollen from the "pulling sets" (and from lifting so many trays of food). We rolled out of bed, incoherent in the early morning hours. After everyone was ready, the group limped to the pool. The guards at the entrance glared at us as we entered. We noticed shiny new tasers tangling by their sides and lost all hope of saving the duckie.

As we began to warm up, two tall figures entered the vicinity of the pool area. One, an incredibly buff woman, introduced herself to the group as Sheila. The other, a really tough-looking guy, told us his name name was Hunter. Turns out they were both world class athletes. I was amazed by the coincidence.

After practice (I'm told that's what it was; I have no memory of it), we decided to take a tour of the Colorado Training Center, (after all, the swim facility makes up only a small portion of the dozens of buildings). Our first stop, simply known as Sports Center I, is basically a gymnasium. What's not clear on the map is that the building is actually made up of 9 smaller gymnasiums that cover 54,000 square feet. Sports center II is even bigger, topping out just over 59,000 square feet. What's really impressive, however, is the Pierre de Coubertin museum, which covers 78,000 square feet.

We then visited the velodrome and shooting centers. After surviving an encounter with a sniper-toting 13 year old (whom I presume must be a very accurate shot considering she's at one of the top three shooting ranges in the world), we made out way to the 8 million dollar visitor's center. Like the pool facilities, more cameras. Fortunately, there were no duckies that needed rescuing, and after (legally) collecting a few souvenirs, we make our way back to the pool for our second swim practice of the day.

This time, there were paralympians swimming at the same time as us in the opposite side of the pool. There were two important differences between us and them: first, they were all seriously disabled, whereas we were all hail and hardy. Second, they could swim about twice as fast as us. Like the other Olympians, they didn't have any secret trick. It's not the good food, bad desserts, or the cool facility, or rubber duckies. Just what makes an Olympian remains an open question. But some day, I aim to find out.

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