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US Olympians and Olympic hopefuls describe their creative pandemic training

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When gyms closed during the pandemic, Olympians had to pivot their training and find new ways to stay in Olympic shape.

Video Transcript

ALLYSON FELIX: Training has definitely been challenging, you know, during the pandemic, especially being in Los Angeles.

JOE DELAGRAVE: In the beginning of the pandemic, it was Rocky Balboa style, just trying to find different ways. I was lifting my kids, bench pressing my wife sometimes.

DAVID BOUDIA: Never in a million years did I think I'd be doing training in my backyard on grass.

DANA MATHEWSON: When the pandemic first started, tennis courts were closed. And so my roommates and I got kind of creative. I used to live in a house with two other girls. And we decided to move all of our furniture out of our living room. And then we got like that blue painter's tape, and we made a miniature tennis court in our living room, and put a net up and everything.

And we basically just played mini tennis with each other. And it definitely wasn't pretty, but it was fun.

ALLYSON FELIX: You know, we've trained on the street. We've trained on the beach. We've trained on San Vicente. We've been all over the place.

And as long as there's a surface to run on, we're running. So it's been difficult. But we have been able to move forward.

ANITA ALVAREZ: I had actually ordered a baby pool from Amazon. That was kind of just for fun. But got to do a few little things in there.

DAVID BOUDIA: My kids have a backyard trampoline. And I would try to do repetition after repetition, and just do flip after flip after flip on the mat. Get on a trampoline and try to mimic what the springboard felt like in diving.

MATTIE ROGERS: I had to figure out a way to make my garage a little bit more level because I couldn't physically like change anything. Because I rented at the time. So I cut up some carpet. I think I had some cardboard boxes. And just kind of did what I could to make the front a little bit higher so it was kind of level. And then tried to use various things to be able to drop the weight because noise was an issue with my neighbors as well.

GINNY FUCHS: We knew this coach. And he knew this spot on the mountain. So he invited us up on the mountain. And so it's like slanted on a mountain. We're hitting mitts with him while Michaela's over there with a sledgehammer hitting just a rock. And then we switch. And so we're all like at an angle doing mitt work.

MAGGIE STEFFENS: That's that COVID year is just trying to find creative solutions in a new way that you may not have done before.

PERRY BAKER: This Olympics is going to be so sweet when we get selected to go to it just because of all the hard work that we actually put in. Like, this was nothing whereas like I was just doing the normal stuff. This was actually stuff you got to figure out how I'm going to do it and keep your mental strong.

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