Mon, Jun 25 2012 03:09 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
When the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center formally opened in 1995, archery was one of its first resident sports. Over the years, archers have repeatedly helped put the sprawling 155-acre facility nestled on a hillside above the Lower Otay Reservoir in the spotlight.
Justin Huish won gold medals in individual and team competition at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games. His freshness and candor helped make the Fountain Valley native what one sportswriter at the time termed “the best thing that’s happened to archery in 20 years.”
Fast forward 16 years and the sport’s current poster boy is another OTC resident athlete: Arizonan Brady Ellison.
Ellison is currently ranked No. 1 in the world, as is the United States in the team standings.
Both Ellison and Team USA are picked to medal at the upcoming London Games.
Native Ohioans’ Jake Kaminski, 24, and Jacob Wukie, 26, join the 23-year-old Ellison as America’s medal hopefuls.
Though they hail from different parts of the country, their common thread has been their ongoing residency at the CV-OTC.
It all started with childhood dreams.
Wukie, an alternate on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, has been involved in the sport for 13 years while pursuing this moment of a lifetime. He was 14 years old when veteran Butch Johnson won the silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Games and when Team USA last earned a medal (bronze).
Ellison, who has been part of the OTC’s residency program for six years while developing into a world-class archer, was 7 when Huish and his U.S. teammates captured double gold at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
The common thread of fulfilling dreams with dedication and hard work are critical to success, and they have not been overlooked — or underestimated.
Both the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Easton Foundations have responded to the call for continued development by signing a historic agreement to build a new 40,000-square-foot field house at the Chula Vista facility.
The new complex will place the CV-OTC at the forefront of high performance development and, in the process, take the U.S. archery residency program to a new level.
Plans call for the facility, which will be located in the middle of the sprawling campus, to provide space for athletes to fine-tune their equipment and give them access to a premier training facility tailored specifically to the needs of their sport. It will also provide additional on-site housing.
The current 50-lane archery complex, located at the extreme southern end of the campus, is the largest outdoor archery range in North America.
Construction on the new multi-million-dollar complex is expected to begin this fall with one year to its completion date.
Current San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox was mayor of Chula Vista when the CV-OTC was still under development in 1989. He was among those who helped nudge the project along and his foresight, along with that of many others, is evidenced by this new major addition to the complex.
“There was never a hesitation from anyone in Chula Vista or San Diego to get behind this idea,” Cox said at the June 13 signing ceremony at the OTC.
With the new archery complex, the nation’s best are destined to train there for years to come.
“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.,” USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun said in a prepared statement from the organization.
Among the innovations will be the ability to offer resident archers element-free training at the official 70-meter Olympic distance by allowing them to shoot from protected indoor positions to outdoor targets.
Ellison called the agreement “a ton of hard work and long time coming.”
“The facility will help in allowing us to train in the winter,” he said. “This will allow us to step up the bar which the world hasn’t seen before. We’re excited for it. We want it to be one of the top facilities in the world for high-performance sport. The future is about development. This organization is about developing that.”
World class coach
The USOC has elected to retain the services of U.S. archery coach KiSik Lee through 2016.
Lee has been with the U.S. program since 2006 and has overseen the development of USA Archery’s high performance and coach development programming. He is considered to be the first person to bring scientific method to archery training.
Lee is the former head coach of the Korean Olympic archery team and was the personal coach to 2000 gold medalist Simon Fairweather and 2004 bronze medalist Tim Cuddihy, both Australians.
Lee said he is “excited” about his team’s potential at the London Games.
“I am happy and honored to take another term in the role of U.S. national head coach,” Lee said in a statement released by the USOC. “I am very excited to see our organization keep growing and am proud to be a part of it.”
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