Special to The Sun
The University of Central Oklahoma and the United States Olympic Committee announced the renewal of a contract to maintain UCO as a U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site.
Designated as an official U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site in 2009, UCO continues to serve Team USA, housing 16 national team athletes from the sports of archery, sitting volleyball, track and field and taekwondo. Additionally, UCO has served the U.S. men’s and women’s sitting volleyball teams as an official U.S. Paralympic Training Site since 2005.
“We are pleased to continue our partnership with the University of Central Oklahoma as an official Olympic and Paralympic Training Site,” said Alicia McConnell, USOC director of training sites and community partnerships.
“Their dedication to Team USA has been superb and is a great example of the positive impact that results from providing world-class resources to America’s finest athletes.”
UCO is one of 16 U.S. Olympic Training Sites — and one of six that also serve Paralympic programs — throughout the nation. The university’s elite training centers provide additional resources, services and facilities for athletes and National Governing Bodies to ensure sport development.
With the continuation of Central Oklahoma as an official U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site, national team athletes will utilize the site’s fitness center, two indoor courts, one outdoor court and a running/walking track. The facility allows 2,196 elite athlete training days for Team USA, helping to prepare athletes for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to serve the community and the country as a partner with the U.S. Olympic Committee,” said UCO President Don Betz.
“Central is committed to enabling people to become productive and engaged citizens and leaders through a variety of transformative experiences, including opportunities to compete at the highest level of sport. This continued partnership and designation as an official U.S. Olympic Training Site exemplifies that commitment.”
Since receiving its original Olympic and Paralympic Training Site designation, UCO has hosted international competitions and athletes from Belarus, Canada, China, Germany, Mexico and the Netherlands. Central Oklahoma also hosted the largest international sitting volleyball competition in the nation with 33 teams representing 24 countries at the 2010 Sitting Volleyball World Championships.
In 2011, UCO also teamed with U.S. Paralympics and the Department of Veterans Affairs to serve more than 500 injured active duty servicemen and women and disabled veterans, providing introductory and emerging Paralympic sport training.
UCO has been the site of the Endeavor Games for Athletes with Physical Disabilities for 14 years. The program was adopted by the university in 2005 and has grown to be the largest multi-sport and multi-disability event in the United States. The 2013 Endeavor Games hosted over 400 participants in archery, basketball, cycling, paracanoe, paratriathlon, powerlifting, sitting volleyball, shooting, table tennis, and track & field.