"All of us at the USOC and LPOTC take pride in helping people achieve their dreams" - Jared Steenberge
Jared Steenberge is the operations manager at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center. He is originally from Malone, NY, about an hour north from Lake Placid and has been working at LPOTC for 21 years now.
Jared is responsible for making athletes experience at LPOTC an unforgettable memory. He manages lodging, transportation and venue scheduling. In his spare time he loves spending time playing with his two labs and of course watching baseball.
As the host of the first ever Super Globe qualifier for the NorCa clubs we spoke to Jared about his job, the event, and handball in general.
What is the most satisfying part of your job at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid?
Jared Steenberge: The most satisfying part of my job is watching an athlete come in here for the first time and eventually make their way to the Olympic or Paralympic Games. Seeing them walk into an Opening Ceremony for the first time brings chills each and every time I see it; to have played even a small part in their journey is an amazing feeling that never gets old.
You are surrounded by Olympic-caliber athletes every day. In your opinion, what makes these athletes special, and can you tell us about any experiences you have encountered that you have seen certain values that only Olympic athletes are capable of displaying?
Jared Steenberge: Anyone that walks through the doors of the Olympic Training Center is special. They do not have to be Olympians or Paralympians to be special; just making it to this point in their athletic careers makes them special to us. Our goal is to help support them as they work to achieve excellence. What separates top-level athletes like Olympians and Paralympians from casual or even good, competitive athletes though is the ability to tune out everything around them and focus on their sport. Some people are great blocking out distractions, while others allow it to hold them back.
What do you think about the sport of team handball? In your opinion what’s special about it? Share with us any moment when you watched any handball games live, and what did you think about it?
Jared Steenberge: I like how handball truly is a team sport. Growing up a baseball fan, I admire how a group of people work together for the greater goal. Each person has a unique ability but having all of those abilities come together and focus on team goals, rather than individual goals, is what I love about this sport.
In a way you are the unofficial training center for NYC HC and its athletes. For a decade now these handballers keep coming to train twice a year to prepare for National competitions, especially the US Nationals. And in these 10 years they have won the US National Championship title 7 years, and the Canadian National Championships 1 time. It’s not a secret these camps play a vital role in NYC HC success. What do you think are those tangible and intangible benefits athletes get at your center that they would not get anywhere else?
Jared Steenberge: I believe that we offer a unique setting in comparison to a school or an everyday athletic facility. We are just one of two amazing Olympic Training Centers in the United States and the Olympic Rings are very inspiring to those athletes who walk through the doors. As soon as they walk in, they are aware that they are a part of something bigger and something special. There is little distraction being at the two OTCs and with the services that we offer, all under one roof, the athletes can remain focused on their agenda.
Organizing the 1st Super Globe qualifier for the Nor.Ca. region is a big deal for USATH, and club development in the US. How do you envision this event will develop in the future, and do you think USOC Lake Placid can host this event for few consecutive years?
Jared Steenberge: The USOC and the LPOTC always value and look forward to hosting national and international events. We’re committed to providing a great experience for athletes and fans alike as we grow and support the Olympic and Paralympic movements in the United States. Team handball has a great opportunity for reaching a wider audience, especially in the buildup to the Olympic and Paralympic Games Los Angeles 2028, and we are excited to support that.
Lake Placid is known for many unique sporting moments, but nothing more memorable than Miracle on Ice. Chances are one of the US based clubs might be pulling a Miracle of their own this May, and qualify to the Super Globe in Saudi Arabia this year. It has never happened before. How does that make you feel, being a part of making this a possibility for these athletes? Any word of advice to the athletes?
Jared Steenberge: It is an honor to work in the Olympic and Paralympic movements and to be a part of all these great athletes’ journeys. It is a dream come true and I hope that the USOC team members in Lake Placid can help a U.S.-based club make it to Saudi Arabia to represent USA Team Handball. All of us at the USOC and LPOTC take pride in helping people achieve their dreams.
As for advice for athletes, I would emphasize that they need to remain focused and not let history intimidate them. As you mentioned, the Miracle on Ice took place in Lake Placid and those U.S. athletes did not allow the Soviets to intimidate them. They went out, hustled, worked together as a team and defeated the team that won the previous four Olympic gold medals in men’s ice hockey. Any given day, a team can win as long as they believe in themselves and work together.
You’ve been living in Lake Placid for a long time now. It’s home. Tell us about your favorite things to do in Lake Placid?
Jared Steenberge: Waking up every day and breathing fresh mountain air while you look at the amazing Adirondack Mountains is one of my favorite things to do. I also enjoy kayaking, taking walks with my pups and working for the Olympic and Paralympic movements. As for other activities in the area, there is a great amount of hiking, boating, skiing, skating, paddle boarding, and taking in the many events that Lake Placid hosts throughout the year. These include triathlon competitions, horse shows, lacrosse tournaments, world cup sport events and hockey tournaments both in the arena and on Mirror Lake in the winter. There is an unlimited amount of dining options in town and you will not get a bad meal anywhere. The people of Lake Placid pride themselves in their product but also in the community. They welcome the world all the time and it is truly a special place to visit, let alone live for two decades.