‘Tokyo Strong’: USA weightlifting’s COVID-19 bubble

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TOKYO (NEXSTAR) — For athletes, the Olympic experience looks drastically different this year. However, officials with USA Weightlifting is working to make that easier.

The team’s Hawaii training camp, known as ‘Tokyo Strong,’ became an important place for the eight-person team, coaches, staff and family.

Having that base camp means a lot to the team, including weightlifter Caine Wilkes. His journey to Tokyo has been decades in the making.

“To finally get that after you know over 20 years of competing and training,” said Wilkes. “like, it just means a lot.”

Before he made his way to Tokyo, he joined the rest of the team at ‘Tokyo Strong.’

CEO Phil Andrews says it was great. 

“They’ve felt like it’s normal. It’s like other camps, and that was the intent,” said Andrews. “Of feeling normal, not overwhelming as we went into the game.”

Athletes especially appreciated family time.

“We got to crack jokes in between sets and I love to crack jokes so it was, put me in my atmosphere,” Wilkes added.

For Wilkes, he did have a sense of normalcy at the games. His dad will be able to travel with him to Tokyo because he happens to be his coach. 

“It’s good that despite it being a different Olympics than it usually is, he’s still able to share that experience with me.”

Wilkes’ mom and wife cannot travel to Tokyo, however, they are cheering him on from ‘Tokyo Strong,’

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