This may be the weird libertarian side of me, but when I first heard the news that US weightlifting is being loaded from UTS, I felt a sweet joy. Organization will no longer be limited to a small room. They will no longer be controlled by physical limitations and an oddly positioned weight room. Or maybe it was the business side, jumping from the inside out, singing happy tunes, contemplating the endless potential of weightlifting in the US and where it could be directed in the next few years.
I was at OTC in Colorado Springs for three separate camps; my wife has been there for one camp, the athletes I train have been there countless times. Does he have incredible prestige? Of course, this gives you a tingling sensation every time you walk on campus and know that you have a week to spend with the best athletes in the world. The center is amazing and does a great job with this nostalgic atmosphere. With that being said, one of my earliest memories at OTC was that old wooden platforms and beams were sliding across the platform because they were not flush. When my wife spent a week at the youth camp, she noticed that there were bars all over the place and continued to tell me that her camp featured a CrossFit competitor (and later one of the best coaches in the US) and the like. were so overcrowded, his foot hit the bar and he partially ripped his meniscus!
Last December, I was fortunate enough to be at an elite youth and junior camp and had numerous conversations with some of the top weightlifting officials on the OTC campus. We had a lunchtime meeting and I asked why they are constantly training in an outdated facility. They got new platforms from the worlds of course, but the room was poorly appointed, there are pillars inside the room to block the view of the workout, and there was no place dedicated to mobility / recovery. This person mentioned that they were thinking about leaving campus, as ice hockey and field hockey have done in recent years. It will be hard? For confidence. But in reality, the USOC did not set itself the same goals as the US in weightlifting, and the USAW is at a stage where they can afford to travel and provide a better environment for residents.
I have seen many gyms set up better than the gym at the Olympic Training Center. If a private entity can afford to create a high level of build, then USAW can certainly provide incredible customization for our future teams. The short notice is the part that upsets me. Typically, this is an effort that can take 18 months to 2 years minimum! Now, within a fairly short period of time, USAW will have to find a new location, prepare something to live, prepare food, and calm all members of the body. In the meantime, USAW will also need to find a viable solution that includes a place to live and some food / meal scholarship.
Where will they end up? I believe USAW will continue to run the Colorado Springs Learning Center, however there are many great options out there. As a selfish Dutchman from Pennsylvania, the first thought that crossed my mind was to move the center to York, Pennsylvania. Land is cheap, buildings are affordable, and food is very affordable. Not to mention the proximity of travel. Outside York, residents will be 2 hours from New York Airport, 1 hour from Baltimore Airport, 1.5 hours from Philadelphia Airport and 2 hours from Washington, DC. Being on the coast will significantly improve travel time, not only to Europe, but anywhere in the world outside of Asia. Not to mention, 60% of the US population lives in the northeast corridor. I would prefer the Learning Center to move to one of the banks (east or west) simply due to travel and proximity to a large portion of the population.
Endless growth opportunities
Yes, this is not the best situation when we are forced to leave the OTC bank in 3.5 months, but for me this is a hidden blessing. This is the release of the shackles and the organization will no longer be based in an overpriced room. The new building should be nothing short of impressive, active physical staff are now just as important as a great coach, and better living conditions are needed to attract more residents to the future site. This project and the next two years need to slowly calculate and analyze what is best for residents and what is best for the further development of the sport through camps and training. Contrary to social media beliefs, this is a tough time for weightlifting in the United States.