By Nick Gasparro, Operations Assistant CVEATC
Chula Vista, CA – Resident Athletes from the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center (CVEATC) were invited to Washington D.C. by President Biden himself to celebrate their recent accomplishments. This was the first White House visit since the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic. The weeklong festivities included an Olympic and Paralympic Athlete Summit, a Team USA Gala and a tour of the White House capped off with a speech by President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden. CVEATC Resident Athletes who attended the festivities include Para Track and Field star Trenten Merrill, three-time Paralympic medalist Kym Crosby, two-time Olympian Chris Benard and 2020 Olympian Reggie Jagers, just to name a few.
First up on the itinerary was the Olympic and Paralympic Athlete Summit, which took place at the Washington Hilton. The summit offers interactive workshops and seminars designed specifically for athletes. The topics covered include: Careers, Financial Management, Personal Development, Education and more. The program is designed to assist athletes in their preparation for life after sports. CVEATC Resident Athlete Trenten Merrill made the most of his time at the summit, “That whole day was all about athletes being able to go room to room and learn whatever they want, so I learned about building my brand, building a social media following, public speaking and the importance of defining to an audience your identity.”
Following the Summit, the Athletes were invited to a Team USA Gala, which is held after every Summer and Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. This years Team USA Gala was a bit different since the Summer and Winter Athletes were being celebrated together. The Gala included a red-carpet experience, aerial bartenders serving drinks throughout the night and live performances. For the first time, the athletes were able to be together and celebrate their recent accomplishments as a team. “Everyone was so stoked that it was Summer and Winter Olympians and Paralympians there,” said Merrill, “It was an extravagant event, and having everyone there at the same time is something I have never experienced, and that was the best part because it felt like Team USA was truly united.”
Finally, the day arrived, and the Olympians and Paralympians were off to the White House to meet the President. The Athletes first received a tour of the White House, which was followed by the moment everyone was waiting for. The event, which took place in the South Lawn of the White House, was attended by nearly 600 athletes. President Biden stated, “Our favorite part of the Olympics was watching your families watch you, learning about who you are.” He said, “Because we learn about how big, diverse, talented and great this country is.” First Lady Jill Biden also reflected on her time watching the Games saying, “You don’t just play a game, run a race, hit a target or win a competition. With every step, jump, roll, kick and twirl you show us the heights of our human potential.” Elana Meyers Taylor ended the event by saying, “As a team, Olympians, Paralympians, Summer Athletes, Winter Athletes, we’ve been through a lot, a pandemic, a postponement, a war. But this team is resilient, we came together, and we persevered, and we hope we’ve made this country proud.”
About the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center
The Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center is set on 155 acres on south San Diego County, home to over 20 sports and a diversity of teams and athletes across Olympic, Paralympic, professional, collegiate and international countries. To learn more about training or groups events, visit trainatchulavista.com