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The U.S. weightlifting team is setting up in Hawaii to avoid the COVID restrictions in Japan

USA Weightlifting is training in a resort hotel ballroom in Hawaii during the Olympics to avoid COVID-19 restrictions impacting athletes in Japan.

HAWAII, USA — Normally during the Olympics, athletes set up in the host country for weeks of training before their events. 

At the Olympics in Tokyo, USA Weightlifting CEO Phil Andrews said his team has been pumped up over a different plan.

“Whatever it takes to give the athletes to tools they need to be successful,” Andrews said.

With rising cases of COVID-19, a fourth state of emergency and health restrictions in Japan that ban family and some support staff, USA Weightlifting has decided they’ll set up their Olympic training in Hawaii and have converted a ballroom at a resort hotel into their weightlifting training room.

"We will convert their ballroom for just under a month into a weight training hall,” Andrews said. 

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Credit: USA Weightlifting

The idea is to keep training as normal as possible by avoiding the disruptions of all the COVID-19 restrictions in Japan by staying in the U.S., but getting as close to the Olympics venues as possible.

 “We train on Tokyo time and give them artificial life sleep resource they need to adjust to Japanese time, but from Hawaii,” Andrews said.

Credit: USA Weightlifting

The training camp in Hawaii means athletes can have their families nearby and the support staff that helped them reach the Olympics.

“A place where we can bring family of the athletes, which is really important to the athletes,” Andrews said. “Personal coaches, the sports psychologist, chiropractors, all these things we would provide the athletes." 

Athletes will train in Hawaii and fly into Tokyo just before their events, before flying home in hopes of reducing their time and exposure to Japan during the Olympics. 

Credit: 9News

It’s a plan Phil said should work well. He even says these Olympics could be the most successful for USA Weightlifting in 60 years.

“If we get three or more medals, it would be our best in 60 years,” Andrews said. “We got our biggest team since 1996, when qualifications began.”

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