Boccia calls for Olympic Training Site status

Mammoth schools superintendent Rich Boccia said this week he is pushing to make the town a designated training site for U.S. Olympic athletes.

Boccia, who has Olympic organizing experience in Colorado Springs and the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, made his pitch to the town’s Recreation Commission on Tuesday.

“It would appear to me, based on the conversations here in town and given the athletes we have, we should find, somehow, to build an action plan to apply to the Olympic Committee to become an Olympic training site,” Boccia said.

“We’ve got a track; we’ve got the mountain building training complex for high-altitude training. What can we do to move something forward?”

Recreation Commissioner Teri Stehlik was all ears, and she said as much at the Town Council meeting on Wednesday evening.

“This is something I’ve been trying to push forward; there is a lot of good information and energy coming forward. How can we all start working together to discover what facilities we’d need to move that forward?”

“We need to start talking,” Stehlik said. “We can’t have three facilities that do the same thing and not be successful so we need to start figuring out how we can work together. We need to start moving forward.”

Boccia, himself a gymnast, served as the national men’s program chair for a number of years, and in 1984 helped manage the Olympic Games competition.

On Tuesday, Boccia brought a sheaf of material to the Recreation Commission, then outlined the steps it would take for the U.S. Olympic Committee to give Mammoth a training site designation.

If such a thing were to happen, Mammoth would join 14 other sites in the U.S., such as the Anschutz Southern California Sports Complex in Carson, and the Utah Athletic Foundation in Park City.

“I believe that—and maybe it’s just me with a crazy idea that’s gone sideways—we could get ourselves together and find someone to facilitate the conversation,” he said.

“My challenge, my charge, would be to put a task force together that would call together the stakeholders in the community, the hospital, the schools, the town, the Chamber, the Mountain, and sit down and talk about what we’re going to be when we grow up.”

Boccia acknowledged it would take time, but Mammoth has all kinds of time, if not money at the present.
“I think, as we look out five or 10 years down the road, we could find out what that would look like in terms of facilities as we get through these challenging financial times.

“But I think this could be a way to pull ourselves together as a community and say, this is what Mammoth is, this is where we’re going, this is what it looks like, so let’s roll.

“Let’s rebuild Mammoth.”