Chula Vista may take over Olympic Training Center

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CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- Rumors about the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center possibly closing down are circulating.

FOX 5 viewer John Wolf contacted the station regarding his concerns.

Wolf has been involved with the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista since he was 16 years old.

“We grew up there,” Wolf said. “My grandfather, he’s the one who brought us into the Olympic Training Facility. That’s how we started.”

Wolf, now in his 30’s, says rumors that it may close have him concerned.

“For me, even working there, there’s been problems or issues that I’ve heard with money and trying to get things done,” Wolf said. “You know it’s been a back-and-forth thing with money, basically, trying to fund it. It’s unfortunate.

The 155-acre training center, one of three in the country, opened in 1995. The land and facility was a gift from the San Diego National Sports Training Foundation. According to the US Olympic Committee, it costs approximately $28 million a year to operate.

The US Olympic Committee told FOX 5 there is no truth to the rumors. It says the rumors may have started last summer when the US Olympic Committee sent a letter to the City of Chula Vista essentially asking it to take over.

But it’s no secret the facility has been struggling to operate. In 2014 the USOC sent a letter to the ity of Chula Vista asking it to explore whether it could take over the title of the property.

In a statement, the USOC said:

“In 2004, the USOC was restructured and the mission of the USOC was narrowed to focus exclusively on sustained competitive excellence at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. All USOC expenditures are currently evaluated based upon whether and to what extent they contribute to that mission.

The USOC spends approximately $28 million each year on the operation of Olympic Training Centers, or 14 percent of our annual operating budget. The OTC in Chula Vista requires approximately $8 million per year to sustain operations.

We want to improve our understanding of the contributions that the Olympic Training Centers make to our medal performance at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. While we do that, we are also going to explore whether we could achieve the same or better results against the mission if the City of Chula Vista were to take over operations at Chula Vista, which would free up some resources for us to redeploy to NGBs and athletes.

We are grateful for the support of our partners in the southern California region, including the San Diego Sports Foundation, the Eastlake Development Company, the City of Chula Vista and larger community of Olympic and Paralympic fans in Southern California, and will continue to work with them and others to ensure that America’s elite athletes have everything they need to be successful.”

John Wolf and others associated with the training facility can now breathe a sigh of relief.

”To lose things like this really makes you angry,” Wolf said. “This is too great of a city, too great of a location for us to be losing things like this.”

When FOX 5 contacted the City of Chula Vista, it said “it is interested in acquiring the title but a transition like that could take several years.” The city added the issue was not about bankruptcy but more about exploring different business models.

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