Westward Bound (5/30/13)

BY ASHLEY CALDWELL
Hanging out with two bobsledders: Chris Langton (left) and his
brother Steve Langton (2010 Olympian, 2012 world champion) at
the LP OTC
Athletes have fun too! This is a picture of a few freestyle skiers,
lugers and biathletes after an afternoon of slip and slide in the halls
of the OTC!

Ever since I began aerials in 2007 at the age of 14, Lake Placid, N.Y. has been my home away from home. If you are unaware, Lake Placid was home to the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Winter Games. Now it is home to one of the three Olympic Training Centers found around the country and run by the United States Olympic Committee (the others being in Colorado Springs, Colo. and Chula Vista, Calif.). The LP OTC (Lake Placid Olympic Training Center), as the local athletes like to call it, is home to many winter Olympic athletes and also hosts various other Olympic training camps.

I became a resident of the OTC after my first year of competing in aerials. This meant that I spent more time at the OTC than any other place in the world. It was difficult in the beginning. I struggled with being away from home, but I embraced the freedom and responsibilities of being an elite athlete. Living among, and learning from, world-class athletes are some of the most beneficial aspects of a multi-sport training center environment. While I don’t quite have the same weightlifting regimen as bobsled athletes like Steve Langton, Steven Holcomb and Elana Meyers, I still drew a great amount of inspiration and motivation from being around these exceptionally hardworking athletes.

Life at the training center put me on a very focused path toward becoming the most successful athlete I could be. While I am still, and will always be, advancing my mental, physical and emotional strategies, I owe the progress I have had to the strong foundation I developed at the LP OTC and the incredible athletes and coaches I learned from.

When I first began the decision-making process of moving out to Park City, Utah, where the U.S. Ski Team is based, I felt that I wasn’t prepared to leave the amazing atmosphere created by the LP OTC. Park City and the U.S. Ski Team provide amazing opportunities, but I was afraid of living on my own and being distracted from my goals without having the “training center” atmosphere. As I sit in the shuttle Park City bound, I realize that the foundation I have developed and the lessons I have learned will stay with me regardless of my location or situation. The thought of leaving now does not provoke fear or nervousness; it makes me excited and confident.

I will miss Lake Placid terribly. And with that I would like to thank the OTC for everything over the past five years and thank Park City for the amazing opportunities that await me.

You can also follow my journey on Twitter: @AshleySkis