The United States Olympic Committee was in North Central Florida Monday, visiting Newberry’s Easton Sports Complex to consider its archery facility for a role as an official Olympic training site for the 2016 summer games.
Alicia McConnell, the USOC director of training sites and community partnerships, said the facility is one of 10 sites being considered. Other locations include Atlanta, Chicago and San Antonio, Texas.
Its indoor and outdoor capabilities and “capacity to host a World Cup” have prompted the USOC to consider the Newberry complex among the finalists.
“Well, first of all, it’s a state-of-the-art facility and you have high-level coaches and you have a multitude of equipment so you can have young people all the way up to the highest level athletes train here,” McConnell said.
Local officials came to the visit, too. Congressman-elect Ted Yoho took shots at the archery facility during the visit.
“Oh, it’d be a huge benefit to Newberry. I can’t think of a better place to put it,” Yoho said. “This is Newberry; this is the heart of America.”
He said having the USOC involved in Newberry will show locals “what they can achieve and become.”
Robert Turner, the complex’s head archery coach, said the facility is one-of-a-kind.
“We’ve been open for three years and in that time, we’ve really grown. Looking into the future, this designation, obtaining that, just helps us grow yet again,” he said. “Really, it’s just a matter of engaging more people through archery.”