The fog was thick as Team Titan and Team Mercury arrived at the United States Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista for a day of Track and Field events. This is a unique opportunity for the participants to train where some of the world’s best athletes perform. The 150-acre complex is located at the base of the Otay Lake Reservoir and surrounded by incredible mountain views.
Veterans took part in the shot put, javelin throwing and other track and field events. US Army Veteran Chris Lynch loved the variety of sports available. "Once I learn the sport, I just want to keep doing it until I master it."
While Team Mercury practiced their skills at field events, Team Titan went down the lake to try their hand at Rowing, a relatively new Paralympic sport that consists of three classifications. Angela Madsden, a Marine Corps Veteran and Paralympic rower, provided instruction to participants on proper rowing technique. "The action of rowing is good for the Veterans core muscles, especially those who are paraplegic or quadriplegic," says Madsen. Madsen is the first woman to row completely across the Indian Ocean.
As the team began heading down to the lake, the fog lifted and the mountains appeared under the clear blue sky. The first team of eight on the training barge Tuesday morning learned quickly that the most important part of rowing is teamwork. Everyone must be in sync and work together.
Stanford Mendenhall, an Army Veteran from Meridianville, Alabama was a natural at Rowing and was even approached by Pattie Pinkerton, head women’s crew coach, who suggested he might consider getting involved in the Rowing program.
In the afternoon, the teams switched. While Team Mercury was Rowing, Team Titan took to the field to throw the javelin, discus and shot put.
In addition to learning about different sporting events, Veterans had lunch where the Olympians eat, and learned how the right foods can provide the right fuel that our bodies need to perform.
By Susan Varcie, Program Specialist, Ann Arbor, MI