May - June 2013 in Washington, D.C. and Portland, Oregon

Colombia Track & Field Sports Visitors

During their 10 days in America, Team Colombia’s energy and enthusiasm was felt coast-to-coast. Their journey began in Washington, D.C. with a warm welcome from the U.S. State Department, which included Senior Advisor for Public Affairs and world-renowned figure skater, Michelle Kwan. Nothing says “Good Morning” like meeting an Olympian!

Shortly after their time at State, the team departed for Woodrow Wilson High School, where they met with Athletic Director Mitch Gore and Head Track Coach, Desmond Dunham. While at Wilson, Team Colombia participated in a track and field clinic with Coach Desmond and the girls’ track team. During the clinic, the girls were able to train with each other using different techniques, including a parachute run, single-leg hurdle hops, and a medicine ball routine. Following the clinic, Team Colombia engaged in several classes, their favorite being Spanish of course!

After several days in D.C., Team Colombia boarded a plane headed for Portland. While in Portland, the team participated in a neighborhood clean-up project, watched a professional women’s soccer game, and took part in Portland’s largest 5K and costume contest – The Starlight Run! While in Portland, the team also hiked the two-mile trail to the top of Multnomah Falls, the second-tallest waterfall in the United States.

Thanks to a special friend and University of Tennessee alumni, Jenny Withycombe, Team Colombia was also able to visit an American home for dinner, take part in an after-school program, engage in a sports psychology session, and learn to row on the Willamette River! It was amazing to watch as each side of the boat tried to find their rhythm and move the team forward. What an incredible exercise in teamwork, communication, and perseverance.

While in Portland, the team also participated in a track and field clinic with the University of Portland Pilots Women’s Track Coaches, Ian Solof and Joaquin Ortiz. And they capped off their Portland visit with a trip to Nike Headquarters, where they soaked up the benefits of sport through the Girl Effect presentation.

After Portland, the team departed for legendary Hayward Field at the University of Oregon for the NCAA Track and Field Championships. While in Eugene, the team met with current track and field Olympians, took part in a special behind-the-scenes tour of the championships, visited the Jaqua Academic Center at the University of Oregon, and engaged fully in the Tourney Town atmosphere. Before the meet was over, several Colombians had learned how to quack.

Lastly, one of the most special moments of the entire program was the time spent at Mobility International. While at Mobility, the team learned to use adaptive bikes, to play wheelchair rugby, and to guide each other on a trust walk with blind goggles. So many commented on how this experience changed their perspective and their life.