When many San Diegans become aware of the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, they usually assume the sun-drenched facility only hosts and trains athletes for the summer games.
Dozens of winter Olympians -- everyone from bobsledders to hockey players -- travel to the OTC, including two-time U.S. Olympic speed skater Lauren Cholewinski, who is in Sochi this week hoping to medal in the 500 meter race; she will compete on Tuesday, with the semifinals and finals scheduled for Wednesday.
Lke many -- if not most -- young athletes, Cholewinski is a music fan. The South Carolinian doesn't play any instruments, though the she does have a semi-secret musical side: Asked whether anyone in her family was musically talented, the 25-year-old told SoundDiego, "My father has a great singing voice, and I have an uncle that plays the guitar but otherwise no -- even though I will sing in the shower like a superstar."
Othertimes, she said, Cholewinski and her teammates have been known to "start random USA chants."
Cholewinski is from the tiny town of York, which boasts a population of less than 7,000. You may be able to guess which way her musical tastes lean, but you also might be surprised what else she likes.
"I'm from the south and grew up on a horse farm, so I listen to a lot of country," Cholewinski said, adding, "but my all time favorite band is Linkin Park, even though I like their old stuff more than the new."
When she wasn't training at the rink growing up, where they always played the latest hip-hop, Cholewinski said she listened to rock and alternative to relax. These days, her playlist features a mix of pop-country star Luke Bryan; country bad boy Eric Church; British folk rockers Passengers; Royal Bliss, whose frontman, Neal Middleton had a short appearance on NBC's The Voice, in 2012; and American Idol Scott McCreery.
And what does Cholewinski listen to when she wants to prepare for a race?
"I normally listen to whatever the rink is playing, which in most cases is some kind of techno," Cholewinski said. "But if they aren't playing anything, I like to listen to rock to get me pumped up: Papa Roach, Linkin Park, Avenged Sevenfold and those types -- not really the full screaming ones but definitely upbeat and fast-paced songs to get me in the competitive mode."
And what else is Cholewinski doing to prepare for her big race on Tuesday? Probably hanging with her mother and her brother James, another speed skater, who arrived in Sochi on Monday.
USA, USA, USA!