Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center set for ambitious expansion and gold medal plans – NBC 7 San Diego

One of the many interesting things about Chula Vista is its nickname.

“Their nickname is City of Champions,” said Brian Melekian, President and COO of Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center.

So it’s probably safe to say that the Elite Athlete Training Center is…

“The crown jewel towards that end.”

It’s hard to argue with that. This facility sits on 155 acres and is, truly, the home of champions.

“We had 93 Olympians and Paralympians come through the doors of this facility before Tokyo,” Melekian said.

Many of them live in the 300 rooms on site. But, several others call the surrounding community of Chula Vista home. When the facility was built in the mid-1990s, it was just for Team USA. Now it’s open to all kinds of athletes from around the world, including many school-aged athletes right here in our county.

“Every day you’ll see a youth camp, you’ll see collegiate athletes, you’ll have resident athletes, you’ll have rugby, archery and athletics USA who don’t live here but they eat here and train here every day,” Melekian said. “So you’ll see the full range of athletes from start to finish.”

Professional franchises like San Diego Loyal SC and San Diego Strikeforce also train here. And, as busy as the facility is now, in the next few years it’s going to get even busier. Preparations for the 2024 Olympics in Paris are already underway. But, when the Games return to Los Angeles in 2028, prepare for a massive influx of world-class athletes.

“It will be the first time in history that a facility of this size has been located in such close proximity to the opening ceremony – a 155-acre facility 150 miles from SoFi Stadium,” Melekian said.

The world is looking to use the training center to give their athletes the best chance of winning gold.

“We have already had conversations with the USA team, France, Great Britain, Canada and Brazil, to name just five. The real question is, who won’t be there? he said.

And while all of that is going on, this facility is also expected to host teams preparing for next year’s World Lacrosse Championship in San Diego, the 2026 FIFA World Cup taking place in the United States and in Canada, and the 2031 and 2033 Rugby World Cups. come to the United States

With all this international activity, they are looking to expand, and not in a modest way. CVEATC has a vision.

“We want 50 gold medals to come out of this facility in 2028 and we need to raise $50 million to achieve that,” Melekian said. “With this $50 million, we plan to add 200 additional beds, three additional soccer fields (also for rugby and American football), a pool complex that currently does not exist, and deferred maintenance.”

The addition of the Aquatics Center, which would replace one of three existing BMX tracks, would make Chula Vista home to Team USA swimming and athletics, two of the three crown jewels of the Olympic Games. summer (with gymnastics).

Plans for this fundraising effort will be revealed in the coming months, but it will be a combination of private partners and a unique opportunity for private citizens to get involved.

Speaking of getting involved, a surprisingly small number of people know that the place where champions train is open to the public. Brian invites everyone to drop by because the product sells itself.

“I haven’t yet had a visitor here who hasn’t said one of two things, if not both,” Melekian said. “’This place is amazing. How can I help?’ So we need to get more people here because I can tell you I’ve done a lot of cool jobs in my life. I participated in the construction of a stadium, I participated in the launch of professional sports leagues. I’ve never had a job I love as much as this. If you want to experience what it feels like, all you have to do is come spend an hour or two on campus and you’ll walk away feeling the same.

They do tours Monday through Friday and by appointment on weekends. It really only takes one trip to see that this is a very special place. For more information, call (619) 482-6220 or visit their website at www.trainatchulavista.com.

You might run into a future Olympic champion.

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