Emotions from a Fire in Colorado being felt at Olympic Swim Trials
Swimmers and staff of USA Swimming are trying to stay focused on the swim trials but they're also worried about the wildfire back home in Colorado Springs. Video by kmtv.comvideo
Omaha, NE - In Colorado Springs flames devour homes.
Tens of thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes and perhaps never go back.
Fear and worry is being felt beyond those borders by the men and women of the water here for the Olympic Swim Trials.
It’s swimming's biggest stage, the Olympic Trials.
An opportunity these men and women have been training their entire lives for, but while the duel in the pool burns bright so do the Colorado wildfires.
Colorado Springs is home to USA Swimming.
“We've got staff people who came from Colorado Springs, our minds and our hearts with our friends and family with the situation that's going on there,” said Chuck Wielgus, Executive Director USA Swimming.
Around 50 staff members for the Olympic squad made the trip to Omaha.
Some of them are now watching their homes burn on television, fighting through the emotions of losing everything and not being near the ones they love.
"We just got word that one of them lost everything, and we have another staff member who’s parents lost everything last night,” said Wielgus. “So it's really starting to hit home for us.”
It’s not just the staff members.
Many of the nation's top swimmers have spent the past few months training in Colorado, some champions call it home.
But at the moment there is a bigger calling, representing their country.
"They know the community well and the Olympic training center well, but their minds are here right,” said Wielgus. “They’re thinking about the right things which is how fast they are going to swimming the pool.”
Their hearts and minds may be back home, but their also here in Omaha because the show must go on.
This is a dream and USA Swimming wants to make sure these swimmers get to live it out.
On their website USA Swimming issued this statement "USA Swimming continues to monitor the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs. All staff working at Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb., has been told that if they feel the need, or if they want to go home, we will get them home as soon as possible. We are committed to running an amazing event here in Omaha and are working hard to ensure that all of the athletes competing at the Olympic Trials have a great experience.”
"We have the full support of the U.S. Olympic Committee and its CEO Scott Blackmun. The USOC has offered to help relieve any USA Swimming staff that needs to leave Omaha and has also offered refuge at the Olympic Training Center for any of our staff that have been evacuated from their homes."
Additionally, the USA Swimming Foundation is working to accept donations for those members of the Swimming family who have been affected by this tragic event. More information will be available on usaswimming.org soon. Those wishing to offer support may contact USA Swimming at firstname.lastname@example.org.