US Olympians and Olympic hopefuls describe their pandemic training | USA TODAY

Divers and swimmers training on land. Boxers training on mountains. When gyms closed during the pandemic, Olympic hopefuls had to pivot and find new, creative ways to stay in Olympic shape.

They are some of the top athletes in the world in their respective sports – elite in their training, meticulous in the preparation, the best the United States has to offer.

But when training facilities shut down due to COVID-19, they had to get creative.

There were boxers smashing rocks with a sledgehammer on the side of a mountain. An Olympic diver doing flips on his children’s trampoline in the backyard. Wrestlers and judokas sparring with their fiancés or siblings.

“It was Rocky Balboa style, trying to find different ways,” wheelchair rugby athlete Joe Delagrave recalled. “I was lifting my kids, bench-pressing my wife sometimes.”

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