CHULA VISTA, Calif. – The U.S. archery team, which features the No. 1 men's recurve archer in the world, is aiming to be even better.
In a historic signing ceremony held Wednesday, the U.S. Olympic Committee, in cooperation with Easton Foundations, announced a joint agreement to construct a 40,000 square foot (3,716 square meter), state-of-the-art archery field house to be located at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, near San Diego.
“This facility will advance the art-science of archery to new levels,” said Bob Easton, a member of the Easton family, which started the company that is now Easton-Bell Sports with a line of archery products in 1922. “We are proud to join USA Archery to make a dream like this come true.”
The facility will aid in the development of archery on two plains, both competitively and at the grassroots level.
“For our national and Olympic teams, this indoor facility will eliminate the weather element and greatly improve training,” said Greg Easton, the president and Board of Directors member of Easton Foundations. “It will allow us to reach out to the community with camps and other community events.
| U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun, left, and Easton Foundations
president Greg Easton sign the archery field house agreement.
Leading the list of supporters is Team USA’s Brady Ellison, a seven-time World Cup gold medalist and the No. 1 ranked recurve archer in the world in 2011 and 2012. He has qualified, pending approval from the U.S. Olympic Committee, to compete this summer at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
“The ability to now train harder and smarter is certainly going to raise the bar to a whole new level,” said Ellison, of Glendale, Ariz. “I would just like to thank everyone who helped us get to this level.”
The facility still needs to go through the permitting process prior to construction, which is slated to begin this fall. It will be built near the center of the OTC, close to the visitor’s entrance.
Ellison, 23, has been a part of the OTC’s resident program for six years as he has developed into a world-class archer.
“When I first came here, everywhere I went, I was meeting world champions and Olympic gold medalists, and silver medalists, in a wide range of sports,” Ellison recalled. “It’s just great to now know I am one of them.
“A training center like this, which also provides weight-training and nutrition, is a main reason why Team USA is one of the best in the world.”
The new venue will provide athletes a space to fine tune their equipment and give them access to a premier training facility tailored specifically to the needs of their sport. The agreement also will bring additional on-site housing to the training center.
“Jim Easton and the entire Easton family have given an extraordinary amount of time and energy to the Olympic Movement, and by creating a new and improved training site for U.S. archers, have added an incredible physical reminder of the Easton family’s Olympic legacy,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said in a statement.
“We’re grateful for the Easton Foundations’ support in this new endeavor and thrilled to have a permanent home-base that will aid in the development of current and future Olympic and Paralympic archers in the U.S.”
The indoor facility will provide athletes with element-free training at the official Olympic distance of 70 meters.
In a late addition to the news conference, Denise Parker, Chief Executive Officer of USA Archery, announced a contract extension for KiSik Lee, the national head coach of the U.S. Olympic Archery Training Program.
“A world-class facility deserves a world-class coach,” Parker said. “So we are proud to announce a contract extension through the year 2016.”
Lee, the former coach of Korea’s Olympic archery team, has held this position with Team USA since January 2006.