My name is Veronica Day and I’m currently a National team member of the U.S. Skeleton team and a 2018 U.S. Olympic hopeful. I’ve also been a part of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Athlete Career and Education (ACE) Program for the past 3 years and am currently employed by Adecco Staffing, USA. My job is helping elite athletes prepare for life after sport and finding employment while they are still competing.
There are three Olympic Training Centers in the U.S. where U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes can live and train, including Chula Vista, CA, Colorado Springs, CO and Lake Placid, NY. I am fortunate enough to call the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center — or “OTC” for short — my home. Luckily for me, my job with the ACE Program allows me to work remotely, so when I am in rural Lake Placid I am still able to work and earn a paycheck. Having this opportunity allows me to cover some of my training and travel expenses, which add up very quickly.
Lake Placid itself was home to the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Winter Games. The facility is still the home for hockey camps, but biathlon, cross-country, aerial, and freestyle skiing also come through and train here for short periods of time as well. The strongest presence comes from sliding sports. This includes the skeleton (the best one, obviously), bobsled and luge. This makes the OTC full of crazy, adrenaline junkies that enjoy hurling themselves down a mile-long ice track at 85+ mph.
Athletes share a typical dorm room with two to three athletes per room, so privacy is certainly limited. There are laundry facilities, game rooms, and places to work, study and train. While we may give up some luxuries, living here allows us to train in a controlled environment with access to coaches, top notch sports performance training, nutrition and recovery services that you can’t get anywhere else.
The Lake Placid track at Mt. Van Hovenberg is truly one of a kind and is a pretty rough ride. It’s has tight turns and is a very long track, which means higher G-forces and more opportunity to hit some walls on the way down. Practice makes perfect though, and we head out there to take a couple of runs each day in an attempt to master the track and all of its nuances.
Sliding can easily take up a couple hours each day. Once we’re done, we head back to the OTC and grab a meal. There’s a dining hall that we like to call the “Caf” that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you’re staying at the OTC, you can eat there for free. It’s buffet style, which also means I can go up for seconds…and maybe thirds!
Like I mentioned, there’s a gym and a training room where we complete our indoor workouts and sports medicine treatments, as well as an outdoor push track to practice our sprint starts off ice. Lake Placid caters to a much smaller group of athletes and since we all live together and share the same space we are a pretty tight knit group despite training in different sports.
Staying at the OTC for extended periods of time is a great resource that allows me to train at my best. I head there in just a few weeks, once the leaves start changing – a tell tale sign that the skeleton season is quickly approaching!
My goal is to make the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. I will continue to train everyday while sharing my journey with my Olympic and Adecco family as I work hard to make my podium dreams come true!
Follow my journey via social media!
Twitter | @vdaytoday
Instagram | @vld1
Website | frostbittenfollies.wordpress.com