Debbie Green, Debbie Landreth Brown and Kimberly Carlisle were members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team that boycotted the Moscow Games. Green and Brown were volleyball players, while Carlisle was a swimmer.
The trio had something else in common, as they discovered during their StoryCorps conversation: They were among the first athletes to live at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
After failing to qualify for the previous two Olympic Games, the U.S. women’s volleyball team gathered at the Training Center in 1978 to begin preparation for the Moscow Games.
“I can picture it to this day,” Brown said. “When you drive up to it today, it is beautiful. When we drove up, every building was the same color of green, drab green of an abandoned air force base, because that’s what it was. There was a fence with barbed wire around the top of it. And the 2-foot by 1-foot wooden tiny plaque that said ‘U.S. Olympic Training Center.’ That was really it. There was no gym. There was no place to train. What it was is living quarters and a cafeteria and a weight room that didn’t have heat.”
The volleyball team traveled to the Air Force Academy, Fort Carson and nearby schools to get gym time. Carlisle remembered that when she came to the Training Center during the summer of 1978, the swim teams trained at a country club pool.