Waterfront: November 2006 - Olympians Take The Plunge; Does Sex Still Sell Spas?

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Olympians Take The Plunge

Athletes soothe sore muscles with hot and cold water.

As everyone in the industry knows, hot water soothes tired muscles. The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) got on board last fall and announced the opening of the new state-of-the-art Athlete Recovery Center, featuring a hot and cold plunge, located at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., to help athletes train and recover.

The center also features dry and wet saunas, massage services, meditation and hot yoga. The concept behind these modalities, according to the USOC, is that recovery is most successful when done in contrasts, such as hot and cold. The system is meant to allow athletes to recover more quickly and more fully from a workout, making the athletes' next workout even more productive and decreasing the rate of injuries.

"The Olympic Training Center is an intense training environment for U.S. athletes in their quest to fulfill their Olympic or Paralympic dreams. They push their bodies to the limit every day and they give the very best in pursuit of their goals," says Dr. Bill Sands, the Recovery Center leader, in a USOC press release. "In support of their dedication and hard work, the Athlete Recovery Center can now complement the role of our sports medicine division and other athlete-support areas to allow athletes the ability to recover from the stress of a hard workout. The recovery center will concentrate its efforts toward boosting athletes in their recovery from grueling workouts more rapidly and efficiently and allow them to maintain a high-level of intensity in their workouts day after day."

A year in the making, the recovery center joins other services at the complex, such as a weight room, a sports-medicine lab and a sports-science center, and follows in the footsteps of other countries with wellknown athletes.

"Europe and Asia have been ahead of us for years in terms of athlete recovery," says Ron Brant, senior men's gymnastics national team coordinator. "I think having the new center will provide big advantages for our athletes and will be a great addition to the already superb sports-medicine center. More than anything, the recovery center will get America's athletes ready and more prepared for their biggest national and world competitions.

Does Sex Still Sell Spas?

British citizens admit to prurient interest in hot tubs.

For years manufacturers and advertisers have tried to distance themselves from the old image Americans had about hot tubs. You know what I'm talking about: mustachioed men and winsome women sipping wine coolers and gettin' naked. A better approach, it's been thought, has been to play up the family togetherness, daily backyard vacation and hydrotherapy the product offers. Look back at an issue of AQUA from 20 years ago and you'll be shocked by the difference in the ads. Good-bye sensuality, hello practicality.

A recent poll by a British backyard retailer, however, shows that citizens across the pond still associate spa ownership with sex. According to the Home & Garden Channel, half of those questioned by DIY chain B&Q said that installing a backyard spa (or garden spa, as they prefer to call it) thought it was the best way to spice up their love lives, and three in four expressed a desire to own one.

Lest you think the results are skewed toward younger respondents, an equal number of senior citizens as 25-34 year olds — one in three — said they'd install one to attract a potential mate. Icky. Perhaps. But the numbers don't lie. While American spa makers and dealers aren't likely to shift their focus away from the family, bear in mind that Brits aren't exactly known for their sexual abandon and more of your customers than you realize may have something other than relaxation in mind when they walk through your door.

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