Recognizing Awesomeness – But don’t drink the water!

A trip to the Arco Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista yesterday and a guided tour of the facility, kitchen and dining area revealed one very fascinating discovery…Olympic athletes are HOT! I don’t think there was one disgusting fat-body in the whole place…except for maybe some of the Culinary students on the tour itself.

We were graced by such awesome athletes preparing for the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics being played in London, England. We were also invited to eat lunch with them. Myself and another student sat next to a couple of oversized Swedish or Swiss female volleyball players while waiting for our food to be prepared. Did you know that wiping house plant’s leaves with Coors Lite makes them shiny and healthy? Ha Ha. neither did I until I discovered a hidden bottle in the walk-in fridge. I think we have a closet alcoholic Executive Chef that was prepared with the “plant” answer, or it may actually work. I guess I learned something new. Anyway, the mile long legs on these gals could’ve been used to replace the fallen Twin Towers. And yes, it appears that athletes from around the world use our training facility. I guess that’s part of how they make money to survive. Anyways, these athletes that compete at this level are truly awesome. It’s quite amazing to realize the sacrifices that go into their lives as an Olympic athlete.

I also thought it interesting that, although Michael Phelps (Olympic swimming record holder) graces the establishment with his training presence, there is no pool for which he can swim. I guess the pool was initially funded, but budgeting for the facility ran out before it could be erected. So the athletes do all of their “dry” training and strengthening workouts at the facility, then go to the nearby  city pool in a neighboring slum. Yuk…don’t drink the water.

Our class, as a tour group, was given a very good tour by the Executive Chef, who was very knowledgeable. We had an opportunity to watch the female US Archery Team practice. We were asked to yell, holler, cheer, berate and otherwise attempt to distract them during a timed event. This was to help provide a certain level of reality to their workout in preparation for the yelling, hollering, cheering and berating they will encounter during the actual competition. That was actually fun, and I think the athletes had fun with it as well, because we got several smiles and laughs from them.

Another interesting fact was the event of Women’s Softball is no longer played as an Olympic event because the US team won every year except one. I guess there’s one thing we do right. As a replacement competitive sport they will be exhibitioning Rugby this year. Oh…, we’re really good at that one. That was a fair trade.

We ate lunch in the dining facility that has autographs from many athletes that currently train or were currently training at the facility. You’d think the kitchen is very specialized for the various individual diets of each athlete. This is not the case because again, extremely tight budgeting. The athletes do, however, have a pretty nice and well-rounded menu from which to choose. It’s all served cafeteria style with a quick order grill. I was searching for something of the offerings that I felt might be something targeted frequently by health-conscious athletes. I chose the Veggie Burger on a whole wheat bun. I wanted french fries but maybe that’s one thing the Olympic committee just won’t provide. Well, I was right…there were several athletes that selected the same veggie burger. It was pretty dang good. I figured, that might be something they would need to do right because of the frequency of the request. Well, they did it right!

All in all, an interesting trip. Now I saw it, but it’s kinda like going to see the Grand Canyon, like in the movie “Vacation”, where Chevy Chase quickly looks around and sees the same stuff no matter how you look at it. “OK kids,… let’s go!” And I guess we really had a special tour. If you go unguided, you won’t see or do anything to the level of our tour. Hell, we even got to see the compost pile. I mean “HOW SPECIAL IS THAT”?


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