VIDEO: Olympic Athletes Ginny Fuchs, Dana Mathewson & Anita Alvarez On Training During The Pandemic
United States athletes Ginny Fuchs, Dana Mathewson and Anita Alvarez were all forced to adapt to the challenges of training during a global pandemic, with their difficulties being not just interestingly trite stories, but more critically sources of motivation to overcome obstacles.
Fuchs recalls her uniquely challenging training situation, which forced her and others to train in a Macy’s department store.
“Yeah, that was very interesting you know they still had the shoe racks and everything and the checkout counter, no machines or anything, but yeah that was interesting,” Fuchs said. “It was a ride, it was a little cold because it was in Colorado and it’s when we had that big snowstorm and there were no heaters. We had to bring in, you know, little heaters to warm up the place. It was a little dusty, but you know during this pandemic you have to figure it out, you have to make things work and we did and it was it was actually a really good month-long camp in the Macy’s department. The whole USA boxing staff set it up really well and organized and so it was interesting and now I can say that I did a whole training camp out of the Macy’s department store.”
Fuchs continued to elaborate on her training setting, which no longer was in a department store, but was nonetheless a unique place to prepare.
“Right when the pandemic hit, you know all gyms were closed and everything and so I was still in Colorado Springs, I hadn’t flown, I haven’t gone back to Houston, Texas yet and I was with my best friend Mikaela Mayer, who was on the team who’s a professional now, but 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 and we’re hitting mitts with him while Mikaela’s over there with a sledgehammer hitting just a rock, and then we switch and so we’re all like at an angle doing that work. So it was interesting but it was a fun experience to be able to shadow box, hit mitts and break rocks on the side of the mountain.”
Mathewson’s training location was distinct from Fuchs’s but nonetheless was far from normal.
“Mine’s maybe not as cool as an abandoned Macy’s or like smashing rocks, but when the pandemic first started, tennis courts were closed and so my roommates and I got kind of creative,” Mathewson said. “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 like put a net up and everything and we like basically just played mini tennis with each other, and it definitely wasn’t pretty but it was fun.”
Alvarez then chimed in to discuss her set of crazy training experiences.
“When the pandemic hit, we were thinking that we would still have our qualifiers coming up soon so we’re like panicking to figure out what we can do,” Alvarez said. “Obviously all pools had closed, so we had looked into getting an Airbnb with the team that had a backyard pool, and good thing we didn’t because we would have been there for a long time. And then 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 and then through the pandemic you know we’re used to training seven hours a day in the pool and maybe one hour, two hours on land, and our team kind of switched over to zoom training five hours a day on land together, and that was like for us going from water sport athletes to land athletes like fish out of water. I mean it was really hard and just different. And then I’m lucky that I have been living in San Francisco, bay area, so during the summer, I was able to go and swim in the bay just to get some sort of water in and be able to be distanced from people and just kind of go out and do my own thing. And then we are finally able to get back with the team into the pool around mid-June, but then between that and you know different testings and COVID scares and the California wildfires and everything, we’ve kind of been constantly just in and out of the pool, trying to find any pool space we can.”