by Sean Anthony, Hypo2 High Performance Sport Center, CEO

Altitude training is virtually a given in the world of elite sport, and it’s becoming rarer and rarer to see an endurance athlete succeed at the highest levels of Olympic and professional sport without using it.

Through the years, Flagstaff has proven itself to be the world’s preeminent altitude training locale. Why? Well, successful training camps hinge on a number of things but, in the end, it’s all about the milieu and Flagstaff manages to effectively tick all the boxes.

Flagstaff, home of the Lumberjacks, is situated at the perfect base elevation for altitude training, has easy proximity to lower and higher elevations (including the state’s highest peak) and is home to high quality training venues at NAU.

Photos courtesy of Hypo2Sports.
Trail running in any weather. Right: 📷: Abbey D’Agostino; Left: 📷 Kristian Blu.

If you walk through NAU’s new Aquatic and Tennis Complex, chances are you’ll find an Olympic swimmer in your midst.

Here’s just sampling of athletes who have stepped foot on campus to take advantage of the elevation and facilities.

Athletes from Brazil


Slovenia’s Anja Klinar sits down the NAU Swimming and Dive’s Kendall Brown to talk about her training at NAU.


And on the running front, we’ve had visitors from:


and members of Team USA 🇺🇸

Here are some stats to ponder as we look toward this coming summer’s Olympic Games:

  • Since the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, over 10,000 world-class sport personnel (athletes, coaches, sport scientists, etc.) from 29 countries have made Flagstaff their altitude training site of choice.
  • A great many of the world-class athletes who’ve trained in Flagstaff have snagged Olympic medals, won world championships and set world records following their time here. In swimming alone, athletes who did their altitude training in Flagstaff have won over 200 Olympic and Paralympic medals over the last five Summer Olympic Games.
  • If Flagstaff were a country, and could lay claim to its athletes the way actual countries do in their tallying of medal counts, it could boast being a top 10 nation over the course of the last five quadrennial cycles (the four-year summer Olympic cycle). That’s out of over 200 participating countries.

This August, when the eyes of the world turn toward its very best athletes, everyone in Flagstaff should feel an enormous sense of pride in the role our community played in helping some of them get there.

During the Rio Games, there will be the usual media frenzy and innumerable stories about how athletes prepare for the single greatest sporting event on the planet.

But the best story of all for the entire northern Arizona community is that, for a great many world-class athletes, the way they travel their own “Road to Rio” is by taking it right through Flagstaff.

Bonus: Here’s Flagstaff’s Olympic roster and updates from Rio.

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