Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Olympic Training Center is a lot like college (with food)

Posted By on Tue, Jul 17, 2012 at 6:57 PM

The famous Olympic Training Center member (oh yeah, and Michael Phelps).
  • Travis Blackburn
  • The famous Olympic Training Center member. (Oh yeah, and Michael Phelps.)

Yesterday, Reid Forgrave at FOX Sports wrote a nice little story about life at the Olympic Training Center. It's your usual tale of superhuman 19-year-olds bench-pressing 580 pounds while fielding worried calls from their parents and flirting with some of the world's fastest swimmers the next dorm over.

Athletes don’t really have to leave this campus. At times that can be as suffocating as the smoke from the Colorado wildfires that drifted onto campus a few weeks back. A wrestler can spend days in a row talking nothing but wrestling. [25-year-old Elena] Pirozhkova talked about a two-week stint where she only left the campus once, for a Walgreen’s pit stop.

“They provide you with everything you need here, so really you don’t have to leave,” said Corey Cogdell, a female Olympic trapshooter from Alaska who has lived at the Olympic Training Center for six years. “It can become very monotonous. You don’t have a social life. You work hard, and everyone’s so focused on training. I’m pretty much married to the Olympics.”

My favorite part, however, was the introduction to 56-year-old executive chef Dokmai "Flower" Nowicki, a 20-year resident of Colorado Springs, according to this story from the U.S. Olympic Committee.

"Formally, she is the grill sous chef in the dining room attached to the dorm," writes Alan Abrahamson. "If food truly is love, try Flower's pad thai. There's a reason people schedule meetings not only in Colorado Springs but at the Training Center on days Flower is known to be making her pad thai."

John [Orozco], who has lived at the Training Center for the past two years, moving out from New York City, said, "I have known Flower since the first time I came here. I made the Future Stars team when I was 9. She cooked the best meals when I was 9. Every day when I was that little and I came and I saw Flower, I was like, 'OK, we are going to get the best food.'

So, because you're probably not an Olympic athlete about to set sail for London in nine days, here's a quick recipe of Nowicki's, for Thai hot sauce.

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