HONOLULU, Hawaii (WAVY) — A ban on foreign spectators means most American athletes will compete at the Olympics without their families cheering them on in person. USA Weightlifting is getting creative to help ease that blow.
Imagine training for years to compete at the Olympics. After a postponement and dealing with a pandemic, you learn your family can’t be in Tokyo with you. USA weightlifting is getting families as close as they can, by setting up shop in Hawaii.
It’s been a long journey to Tokyo. Throughout it all, Kate Nye has shown up day after day.
“I had to really dig deep and just train anyway a lot of the days,” Nye said. She’s officially one of eight athletes representing USA Weightlifting at the Tokyo Olympics.
“It’s an honor and I’m just so excited that I can officially say I’ll be going to Tokyo and representing my country at the Olympic games,” Nye said.
However, her family, including her husband, can’t be with her in Tokyo because of a ban on foreign fans.
“We’ve just been through a lot and a lot of that, a lot of the reasons that we all made it through all of this are the people we have in our corner,” Nye said.
USA Weightlifting is trying to help, by creating a training center in the Aloha state.
“We’ve set up a base in Hawaii on Honolulu where our team, their loved ones, as well, who have been very important to their journey, their personal coaches who have been very important to their journey can go and support them,” said Phil Andrews, CEO of USA Weightlifting.
Andrews says the last year has been all about adapting.
“How do we deal with online competitions? How do we keep people lifting when gyms are closed? How do we keep people fit?” Andrews said of the questions the organization faced at the beginning of the pandemic.
The organization is now adapting to the travel restrictions surrounding the Olympic Games by setting up training camp at Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach in Honolulu.
“These athletes absolutely must have every tool that we can give them,” Andrews said. “We can’t do that in Tokyo anymore, so let’s do that in the closest place that we can and bring all of those people and tools that have been really essential to their journey, to Hawaii.”
Andrews expects roughly 35 people to be part of the bubble, families watching together as their athletes compete across the ocean in an Olympics that promises to be memorable.
USA Weightlifting is fundraising to make this training center happen. Click here for more information.