Former Olympian Dwight Phillips recently brought nine elite athletes, each with a view toward competing at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, to SPIRE Institute & Academy for two weeks of intense physical and mental training. A sports academy with one of the largest indoor, professional training and competition complexes in the world, SPIRE provided the ideal environment for these athletes—many of whom had not been able to train indoors since the pandemic began—to focus on developing the edge that athletes need to earn a spot on the Olympic podium.
A gifted coach, trainer, and developer of talent, Phillips is also a decorated athlete and a former Olympian himself. At 8.59 meters, Dwight Phillips’ gold medal jump at the 2004 Olympics in Athens was the fourth biggest in the history of the Games, after Bob Beamon’s in 1968 and Carl Lewis’s jumps in 1988 and 1992. His success continued after Athens, during which time Phillips earned four World Championships and three additional Olympic medals. In 2018, he was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.
Today, Phillips is mentoring and coaching the next generation of Olympic hopefuls through various programs, including The Winners Circle, a training collectively based outside of Atlanta, GA. He is also serving as one of SPIRE’s International Track and Field Ambassadors, helping to prepare student athletes to achieve peak performance.
“Since COVID began, it has been very difficult to find appropriate indoor venues for these athletes to train,” said Phillips. “In addition to the physical workouts, these athletes also needed a place to work on mental preparedness, proper nutrition, and to receive physical therapy and other support. We found the whole package at SPIRE. The timing was perfect.”
Most of the athletes who accompanied Phillips to SPIRE are long jumpers (Daria Klishina, Chantel Malone, Akela Jones, Ryan Billian, Reggie Steele, and Kenny Glenn), but there were also two 100-meter hurdlers, Krist Castlin and Amber Hughes, and an 800-meter sprinter, Paris Simmons.
According to Phillips, the last two weeks of training at SPIRE have been invaluable to everyone one of these athletes. “While we were at SPIRE, we trained for about 12 hours every day,” he said. “We were tremendously fortunate to be able to work out in this facility—everything about it is outstanding, and there is plenty of room to operate safely. In addition to using the weight room, we were able to spend stretches of dedicated time really working on analyzing stride and technique, isolating biomechanical issues, and doing drills appropriate for each athlete’s event. That led to some real breakthroughs for some of our athletes—they are really on their way now.”
SPIRE Institute & Academy (IA) (https://www.spireinstitute.org) is one of the largest indoor, professional training and competition complexes in the world. With more than 750,000 sq. ft. under roof and a campus of 175 acres, SPIRE has the unique capacity to simultaneously host a world-renowned sports academy, clubs, leagues, tournaments and championship events, no matter the weather or the season.
SPIRE Academy and its expert coaches, teachers and performance trainers offer residential camp and academy training programs in basketball, track and field, swimming and now in esports and drone/robotic/AI/emerging tech as well. The comprehensive mix of professional level training integrates athletics and academics, skills training and performance training and personal and career development in ways that has never been done before. High school and post grad athletes on one campus, pursuing specialty passions ranging from basketball to e-gaming, swimming to drone racing, pole vaulting or sprinting to future opportunities like culinary or cultural arts…is a career development experience that you just won’t find anywhere else in the world today.
SPIRE Institute, in partnership with Cleveland Clinic, is the epitome of a ‘real world lab’ for professional, technical and health and wellness research. Like never before, student trainees and elite athletes will have the chance to train, study and be studied side-by-side with weekend warriors, wounded Veterans, Paralympians, Olympians and Special Olympians, as well as juniors, collegians and adults of all ages and ability levels. SPIRE is truly a melting pot of all things relative to long-term training and education development, and all of this delivered within a fun, healthy and inspiring environment.
The “SPIRE Way’’ focuses on the development of the whole self – building strong minds, strong bodies and strong character.