This story is sponsored by SPIRE Institute & Academy. SPIRE and its expert coaches, teachers and performance trainers offer residential camp and academy training programs in basketball, track and field, swimming, esports and drone racing.
For more information on the Track & Field Academy, click here.
For information on Track & Field camps, click here
SPIRE Institute and Academy (SPIRE IA) is a place where even Olympians marvel.
Why are these athletes, who've inspired nations, shattered records and competed in venues around the world, reduced to awe when they visit SPIRE Institute and Academy (IA)? These are the greats, so you can imagine how the rest of us feel.
Seeing is believing, but what could possibly make a world-class athlete melt? Is it the smell of the fresh Beynon tracks? Could it be the springy feel of the courts? Maybe it's simply the grandeur of seeing every sport at its full-size regulation glory?
It could be the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a tour of the facilities; and don't even think about squeezing it in without a full afternoon. We're talking about a place with 750,000 square feet of sports facilities. Huge doesn't even begin to describe it.
Maybe it's what is inside?
Highlights of SPIRE's indoor facilities include:
One of the largest indoor track and field facilities in the world.
Full-sized indoor soccer, football and lacrosse fields.
12 full-sized indoor courts for volleyball and 6 for basketball.
An aquatics facility with a full-sized Olympic pool and a recreation pool, medical offices, a fitness club and high-performance training center.
Or could it be what is outside?
A walk around SPIRE's outdoor complex reveals:
Full-sized outdoor football, soccer and lacrosse fields.
Track and field facilities with a 9-lane, 400-meter Beynon track, 2 full-sized, 150-meter straight-aways, 2 high and 4 long jump pits and 2 pole pits.
Stadium seating for 9,500.
What about the Olympic-grade quality?
At SPIRE, every detail is designed to the highest athletic standards. From the turf to the lighting, to the courts and tracks, to the timing machines and scoreboards, everything works together to create one spectacular training and competition hub.
Is it the brains?
SPIRE's accredited 9th - 12th grade college preparatory program provides students with the academic rigor to earn admission to any college or university in the country. Built on a project-based, experiential learning model, SPIRE's academic program is a cross-discipline model, customized and designed to meet each student where they are. The state-of-the-art facility allows students in the classrooms and on bigger projection sites in the Common Area to connect live to learning destinations and people around the world. The post grad program gives student athletes the opportunity to hone their skills, improve their test scores and get a head start on college level courses before they head off to college.
Could it be the people on board?
SPIRE Director of Track and Field Charlie Powell
Charlie Powell is no stranger to coaching champions. In addition to coaching Olympic champions on to victory, Powell's athletes set 15 conference records, 22 outdoor school records and 21 indoor school records. His long history of success stories includes:
Two NCAA individual Champions
18 NCAA All-Americans
One Pan Am Champion
60 individual NCAA Championship Qualifiers
Over 100 individual Conference Champions
Over 100 All-East Athletes
Two NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship recipients
Two Thouron Scholars
Canadian and Australian National Champions
Over 50 Academic All-Ivy Team Recipients
SPIRE Director of Track and Field Training and Development and Pole Vault Coach Tim Mack
Gold medalist pole vaulter Tim Mack achieved Olympic history in the 2004 games with his record-breaking 5.95 meter jump. Tim holds many personal achievements and coaching success stories, including:
Personal best jump of 6.01m
2000 Goodwill Games Champion
2002 USA Indoor Champion
2004 USA Olympic Trials Champion and former USA Olympic Trials Record Holder
2x IAAF World Championships Finalist (2001, 2003)
Coached 2014 Indoor USA men's Champion Mark Hollis
Coached 2016 Rio Olympics Finalist, Kelsie Ahbe
Extremely versatile and has coached athletes from 10-65 years old, multiple HS 13' girls and has coached a 17' HS boy
SPIRE Throws Coach Kibwé Johnson
One of the most versatile throwers of all time, Kibwé Johnson has won five U.S. championships and represented the U.S. at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. His list of accomplishments include:
2x Pan American Games Gold medalist
Pan American Games Silver medalist
Pan American Games Record Holder
4x World Championship Team Member
5x US Champion
4x US Runner-up
3x NCAA Champion
NCAA Record Holder
2x Georgia State HS Champion
3rd best American all time (HT)
5th best All-Time (WT)
Highest Year End World Ranking achieved - 5th
All-Time World Best HT/DT/WT combination
SPIRE Ambassadors, including Dwight Phillips, 4-time track and field Olympian and gold medalist, and Tianna Bartoletta, track and field Olympian and 3-time gold medalist, work with SPIRE coaches and performance trainers to help build the kind of training program and facility they wish they had back when they were competing. They've shaped every aspect of the curriculum at SPIRE to the highest athletic standards, and it shows.
How about the sports?
Perhaps the emphasis on the wide variety of sports is the game changer. Where else can you go to find track and field, esports, basketball and swimming academies all on one campus? Most organizations just don't have the facilities or resources to support all these programs year-round. SPIRE isn't most organizations.
Maybe it's what is next?
SPIRE Institute is the real-world lab aspect of SPIRE. It exists at the forefront of innovative research and development to support student athletes, aspiring professionals and regional business interests across multiple disciplines. Sport, sports medicine, rehabilitation, orthopedic, bio-mechanic, robotics, sport psychology, performance training, nutrition, communication and leadership training experts all have the ability to study/interact with/track our athletes, coaches and teachers for the good of the whole...and make a difference.
Could it be you?
This is a place for all athletes-seniors in high school and seniors in retirement, veterans in physical therapy and Olympians in training. Whether you're just getting back on the track after a serious injury or an Olympic athlete looking to up your game, SPIRE is your place. Together, there's no telling what we can do.