USA curlers living in the youth olympic village on low energy

Team USA Photo:WCF/Richard Gray

To competitors, it seemed like a joke until they tried it. Living in the Olympic Village on almost zero energy.

In practical terms, that means quick showers and dark rooms.

A competition at the Winter Youth Olympic Games promises a Samsung Galaxy S II to athletes who use the least amount of energy during their 10-day stay in Innsbruck.

The USA Curling team is hoping to win.

“When we discovered the competition we took the information back to the other roommates and we all started to save energy. It was kind of a joke first,” said team member Tom HOWELL (USA).

“We were just going to not turn up the lights first. But we did that for one night and then we discovered that one of our roommates had a flashlight. So we also started to use it in the showers.”

The local power company, IKB, is in charge of calculating how much energy each athlete uses. It is measuring the amount consumed in each of the 375 apartments at the Olympic Village and dividing that by the number of people that share them.

To keep their usage down, HOWELL and his five roommates are charging their cell phones at event venues and in the shared breakfast room.

“We do not take showers together but we did eliminate showers for more than five minutes long. And we also go to the bathroom with the lights off. Actually, is not bad to have showers with flashlights. Because the light bounces and is quite nice,” HOWELL said.

His roommate, Korey DROPKIN (USA), added: “It helped to bring us together. Now we joke about that and we hang out in the balcony at night. We do it under a flashlight.”

But he has no plans to make this a habit. “For sure, we are not going to do this back home,” he said.

The USA women curlers also joined the competition for a day but were derailed by the men.

“We are kind of out of the contest because they sabotaged us. They entered four times a day to our room in order to turn on all the lights,” said Sarah ANDERSON (USA), with a laugh.

IOC Young Reporter Arnel Miguel Dalmedo Silva

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