COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — If the pandemic has been landing some low blows, then USA Boxing Executive Director Mike McAtee says U.S. boxers have thrown a counter punch.
“You get back in the fight and that’s what we’re doing here,” said McAtee.
Less than six months before the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, U.S. boxers would normally be busy training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. But due to the pandemic, they can’t train there so the team has set up a new gym in a closed department store at the Citadel Mall.
“It’s obviously a department store not being used,” said McAtee. “But it’s our home and our boxers are taking it seriously.”
They've set up four rings, some punching bags and a strength and conditioning area with their boxing gloves sitting on the store's old shoe rack.
It’s a scene boxer Richard Torrez describes as something from a movie.
“I feel like I’m in a 'Rocky' movie,” said Torrez. "Being able to train in these old low lighting levels.”
Because boxing is a tough sport to stay socially distant, athletes take COVID tests before camps along with daily rapid result tests.
The team has been in that department store since January as they prepare for Olympic qualifications in May and then the games in July.
“This is the Olympic Games. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our boxers,” said McAtee. “We're going to adapt and that’s what we’re doing.”
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