Away from the hustle and bustle of Olympic Village in East London, U.S. athletes can quietly and privately retreat to USA House.
The USOC staked its claim to an area of London’s Royal College of Art across from Hyde Park back in April of 2011. The state-of-the-art facility serves as a more secluded area for athletes and their families — and for VIP ticket holders and donors.
Decorated with sponsor-themed lounges, USA House is equipped with a gourmet cafeteria, several bars, meeting rooms, a team shop — and plenty of tight security.
It may be the USA House, but it’s definitely not open to all citizens of the USA. USOC officials say the decision to keep the facility private came after athletes wanted it that way.
“It did come from the request of our athletes many games ago, who wanted an additional area of refuge,” USOC director of marketing and event services Lisa Reliford told Metro during a closely watched media tour. “They’re in the village, they don’t get to see their parents a lot during that time. The minute they get out of the village, everybody wants to be around them and to get their autographs, so this is an area where they can just come and decompress.”
USA House features bits of history, like Olympic torches from past games. A giant American flag hanging in the lobby was made after more than 29,000 Americans donated $12 each to purchase a stitch. It was flown to London with Team USA.
USOC officials say that when athletes come to USA House in the evening, they often conduct a ceremony called the “order of Ecos,” where medal-winning athletes will present their coaches with a medal in a show of gratitude.
“The whole house just chants ‘USA,’ and it’s so exciting,” Reliford said.
Here’s a look inside USA House that you might not otherwise get — unless you become an Olympian or are willing to shell out some big bucks.
The Budweiser deck — appropriately, a bar.
Athletes and their families can indulge in gourmet treats in the USA House’s dining center.
(Photo by Getty Images)
All-you-can-eat yogurt is one treat.
Help yourself to a Coke float.
This bike was designed by U.S. triathlon Olympian Hunter Kemper
This is the flag made up of stitches that were sponsored by more than 29,000 Americans.
You, too, can dress like an Olympian. All merchandise here is priced in dollars — not pounds!
USA House’s lobby boasts historic displays.
And they’re already prepping for 2016.