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Members of USA Boxing have begun their training in Colorado Springs, Colo. Nothing unusual about that. Where that training is happening, though, is a bit strange.
It’s true. USA boxing hopefuls are preparing for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in (drum roll, please) an abandoned department store, according to Tom Jones of NYFights.com.
All of this is the result of COVID-19 fears, which have forced the athletes to prepare anywhere but their typical spot at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Training Center (USOPTC). Since March, they have been bouncing around, making adjustments in their training plans and locations. That included a stop at the French National Training Center in Paris.
Now, it seems as if the old store is the best place to set up their equipment — which ranges from heavy bags to speed bags to stationary bikes and beyond. The store is located inside a Colorado Springs mall, and the boxers and coaches stay in a nearby hotel.
“We are able to continue to move forward in this COVID environment by applying multi-layer protection protocols, pre-travel testing, mandatory mask wearing, social distancing, regular cleaning, regular rapid antigen testing, daily health surveys and follow up PRC pool testing, as well as provide a top notch training facility in our temporary facility, which we are greatly thankful for John Bushman, owner of Hotel Eleganté and the training facility, to help provide these opportunities to our boxers,” said Mike McAtee, USA Boxing Executive Director.
“The training facility and environment we have created has greatly reduced the risk to our boxers and coaches. USA Boxing strives to fulfill our stated mission to our boxers, ‘… (to) inspire the tireless pursuit of Olympic gold and enable our boxers and coaches to achieve sustained competitive excellence…’ in the face of a worldwide pandemic.”
USA boxers began training last week and will keep going until Feb. 18. After that, they head to Bulgaria and Spain for international competitions that serve as warmups before the 2021 Olympics.