State Funds Sought for Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista

Times Staff Writer

A star-studded cast of former Olympians turned out Monday as two state senators unveiled legislation seeking $15 million in state funds for a U.S. Olympic training center planned for Chula Vista.

The bill, sponsored by Sens. William Campbell (R-Hacienda Heights) and Wadie Deddeh (D-Bonita), would allocate the money to the state Commerce Department, which would then transfer the funds in three installments to the United States Olympic Training Center Foundation.

The money would be used to augment up to $40 million that Deddeh said the foundation would raise from private sources.

The center will be the third sports training center in the country, but the first to be available throughout the year. The two other centers are in Lake Placid, N.Y., and Colorado Springs, Colo.

The facility is to be a “state-of-the-art” center designed to accommodate the needs of athletes in 16 sports, including track and field, volleyball, swimming, soccer, bobsled and luge.


It will be located on 154 acres west of the Lower Otay Reservoir on land donated by the Eastlake Development Co.

Among those attending a Capitol news conference to push for the bill were gold medalists Bill Toomey, Bob Seagren and Candy Burke, and silver medalists Terry Schroeder and Doug Burke. Also attending was Baaron Pittinger, executive director of the U.S. Olympic Committee, which has approved the center as an official Olympic training facility.

“Construction of a world-class, state-of-the-art training center will give American athletes the chance to compete on an even footing with athletes from around the world,” Deddeh said.

A spokesman for Gov. George Deukmejian, who has supported locating the center in San Diego County, said the governor has no position on the Campbell bill. He added that any attempt to spend more state money this year would “face an extra hurdle” because Deukmejian is faced with a tight budget that had already led him to propose cutting health and social service programs for the state’s neediest residents.