Future athletes meet world champs at Olympic Training Center

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — It was an unforgettable experience for children in the Boys and Girls Club of the Pikes Peak Region Monday, who got to meet Team USA athletes and try some new sports at the Olympic Training Center. It was the kick off of a week-long celebration of Olympic Day events happening around Colorado Springs.

It was a behind the scenes tour of the Olympic Training Center for about 30 southern Colorado kiddos.

“I think our hosts would say it’s been challenging to keep the kids a bit corralled here,” President and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of the Pikes Peak Region, James Sullivan, said.

The group did some learning, discovering, moving, and most importantly, dreaming.

“Right there I was playing sitting volleyball and then now I’m playing basketball in a wheelchair,” said 7-year-old, Haley.

For Haley, it’s an experience she’s never had before.

“Rolling in the wheelchair, that’s my favorite part. It’s hard to like turn around and stuff. You just let go of one and then if you want to go forward or backwards you do that but I mostly prefer this way,” said Haley.

“Any time you put a ball in the hands of a young person, excitement follows. We love that,” said CEO of the United States Olympic Committee Sarah Hirshland.

It’s a chance for future athletes to play with world champs.

“A lot of us don’t get the chance to come out and hangout with Olympians that have won medals in an Olympic competition,” said Sullivan.

The events gave these kids hands-on teamwork, discipline, and lifelong lessons.

“Sport is about fun and laughter and that’s what they’re here for,” said Hirshland.

The week-long Olympic Day celebration ends Sunday, June 23 with an Open House at the OTC, which is free to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. People are invited to explore the various OTC training facilities, meet athletes, and try Olympic and Paralympic sports.

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