What if there was a state-of-the-art archery center, featuring indoor and outdoor ranges, and world-class training facilities? There is, and thanks to lifelong archery supporter Jim Easton, it opened yesterday in Chula Vista, California.
The Easton Archery Center of Excellence, gifted and operated by the Easton Foundations, adds 42,629 square feet to the current U.S. Olympic Training Center.
The center’s opening also marked a milestone for archery and the Easton family. Years of planning culminated with the official opening of the world’s premier archery facility on the 80th birthday of Jim Easton, president of Easton Foundations.
The U.S. Olympic Training Center opened in Chula Vista in 1995, equipping Team USA Olympians and Paralympians with the resources and support to train for all Olympic sports. Although U.S. archers trained at the facility, they lacked a space dedicated to archery. Thanks to the Easton Foundations, archery has its own permanent home in Chula Vista.
A testament to the importance of the facility, a host of Olympic medalists, Olympians and Olympic hopefuls were on hand to “cut” the ribbon – using bows and arrows:
Easton Achery Center of Excellencer Ribbon-Cutting – 10/22/15Thank you to Olympic medalists Simon Fairweather, Juan Carlos Hilgado, Khatina Lorig, Aida Roman and Vic Wunderle for performing the ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday at our opening. The five archers simultaneously cut the ribbon with their bow and arrows!
Posted by Easton Archery Center of Excellence on Friday, October 23, 2015
“USA Archery is excited about the opening of the Easton Center of Excellence,” said Denise Parker, USA Archery CEO. “This project has been Jim Easton’s dream for many years, and we’re excited to see it come to fruition. Thanks to the Easton family’s generosity, it will be the world’s finest, most state-of-the-art archery training facility. Athletes lucky enough to live and train there will have the best resources possible, while being wrapped in its inspiring architecture and design.”
The Easton companies are long-recognized leaders in the sports industry. They manufacture aluminum and carbon-fiber composite sports equipment, including arrow shafts, ski poles, baseball bats, softball bats, cycling equipment and ice-hockey sticks. The company’s roots, however, are in archery, beginning in 1922 when Doug Easton first crafted custom wooden bows and cedar arrows.
The Easton Foundations, the charitable arm of the Jas. D. Easton companies, was created in 1984 with the goal of inspiring next-generation Olympic hopefuls, and growing archery as a mainstream sport at the state, regional and national levels.
“Part of my vision to support the development of sports education and programs for youth and aspiring Olympians and Paralympians has included designing, building and supporting archery training facilities,” said Jim Easton, son of Doug Easton and current CEO of Jas. D. Easton Inc. “The Easton Archery Center of Excellence is the culmination of years of planning and hard work by a team devoted to the goal of providing … leadership, facilities, programs, training and education for the growth and development of archery, an unmatched experience for Olympic and Paralympic archery hopefuls, and a legacy (that) allows archers from around the world to pursue their competitive dreams.”
The Chula Vista facility is the fourth nationwide archery center funded and operated by the Easton Foundations. The center, with housing for 30, has all the features needed to push Olympians and Paralympians to their podium goals.
Bob Easton, Jim’s brother and champion archer, designed the facility. He incorporated curved ceilings to accommodate an arrow’s flight path and provide a subtle archery theme. Whether it’s classrooms, conference rooms, a fitness room, an athletes’ lounge or coaches’ offices, the state-of-the-art design covered every detail. The two 90-meter outdoor ranges; 22,440 square-foot, 70-meter indoor range; and nearly 1,100 square foot indoor/outdoor shooting range meet every archer’s need.
“This is a great stepping stone for a new stage of the Olympic movement of USA Archery,” said national head coach KiSik Lee in an interview with USA Archery. “We have the best facility in the world that would not only inspire athletes, but make them more proud to be part of Team USA.”
Top Olympians and Paralympians visited the center the week before the ceremonial opening. Olympic hopefuls Mackenzie Brown and Ariel Gibilaro arrowed CDs, balloons and more for news crews. And the best is yet to come.
Team USA qualified four Paralympic quota slots, a full men’s recurve team, and a women’s individual slot for the Rio 2016 Games. The Easton Center will bustle with Olympic hopefuls in the months ahead as they shoot to fulfill their Olympic dreams and those of Mr. Jim Easton himself: To support archery from the grassroots and community level all the way to high-end competitive archers.