In the Hoosier state, where entire towns drive for miles to support their local basketball teams, high school and college hoops are king. NBA legend Larry Bird, who grew up in rural French Lick, is this state's crowned prince. And Bobby Knight, love 'em or hate him, is the Hoosier's most ill-famed demagogue--though the General's pontificating no longer emanates from the courtside bench at Indiana University's Assembly Hall.
This sports mecca is not all about farm town round ball. A variety of other high profile amateur competitors and Olympic hopefuls make their pilgrimage to the state capital for title shots. Indiana University's Natatorium holds USA Olympic Swimming Trials and National Championships, the IU Michael Carroll Stadium hosts National Track and Field Championships, and downtown's Velodrome sponsors Indoor Cycling National Championships.
Athletic-minded travelers should hold onto their headbands and Speedos: These facilities used for such elite competitions remain open to the public throughout the year! That's right, staying in downtown Indy affords exercise fiends the opportunity to trace the footsteps and swim strokes of previous Gold, Silver and Bronze medal winners. Some accommodations are within a 10 to 15 minute walk, and all are no more than a short drive away.
With all these star athletes in temporary residence, there must be a strength and endurance facility of equal caliber, right? Absolutely. Indianapolis delivers the goods with its superb National Institute for Fitness and Sport (NIFS).