Hurry up and Wait: Training Through a Pandemic and Olympic Uncertainty with Mattie Rogers
Ahead of Mattie’s upcoming release of her signature “Going for Gold” belt, we sat down with her to talk about what training during a pandemic has been like.
If at the end of 2019 you asked everyone what they thought they would be doing during the summer of 2020, you’d get a myriad of answers. Some would say traveling, going to the beach, training outdoors, and getting more time with friends and family while others. While everyone’s summer plans are important, they aren’t all created equally. Mattie Rogers, in particular, would have said representing TEAM USA at the Olympics in Tokyo. Enter 2020 (*insert dramatic spooky music*)
Based on previous qualification requirements and following a solid performance at The Arnold, Mattie had earned her spot on Team USA at the beginning of March 2020. Some may remember this as the first “real weekend” of the pandemic as The Arnold was closed to all spectators at the last minute, and there was a time where the competitors were left in limbo as to whether they will compete or not. After the dust settled on the weekend, Mattie had secured her spot on the Pan Am Team and had effectively punched her ticket to the Olympics. She did everything that was asked of her and had finally accomplished her dream: to represent TEAM USA at the Olympic Games.
The weeks following The Arnold included more of what we’re now accustomed to, more cancellations. First, it was Pan Ams, followed shortly by the Olympics being postponed. Now while this is a huge hit to achieve a goal and then have it postponed, but at this time Mattie had still earned her spot, although rumblings were heard that the IWF was considering revising the qualification procedures. Months passed and at the end of May the IWF announced an additional qualifying period, one that extends until April 30th, 2021.
Having to re-qualify after earning your spot on the team seems unfair, but when you have no control over the decision you have two choices. You can complain and make excuses, throwing a pity party for yourself, or you can put your head down and push.
There’s one thing that Mattie is no stranger to, and that’s adversity. Mattie knows how to grind and suffer. She knows how to put her head down and work, so that’s exactly what she did. While she, understandably, struggled to find motivation in the beginning, The quarantine also taught her a couple of things that will be useful down the road.
Having to train alone and still make progress has validated that she doesn’t need a full gym atmosphere to grind, she can do it on her own, making those full gym atmospheres even more special. She’s learned how to generate her own motivation, helping her headspace when the going gets tough. Most importantly though, Mattie seems happy.
While that may seem hard to comprehend, after she’s been thrown every obstacle you could imagine, climbed to the top of the mountain only to be told the mountain just got higher, the difference is she pushed through all of that. She’s making improvements in training, setting personal records with such smoothness it seemed like 80%.
Every obstacle she overcomes, the stronger she gets, both physically and mentally. You can tell she’s starting to find her groove, and if she’s able to do that during a pandemic, who knows what’s possible months and years from now.
Uncertainty and Clarity
While it’s still uncertain what lies ahead for Olympic qualifying, there’s one thing that’s clear: Mattie is ready. While she was already in top shape preparing for this year, she’s improved on that and is right where she needs to be both in the gym and in her life. She’s engaged and is still soon to be married, and recently bought a house with a large garage for training. With her fiancé Sean by her side, along with Killer, Lu, and Pyros, and porch cat, Mattie is primed and ready to punch her ticket to the Olympics, again.