BELGRADE -- Ali Weisz has always known what she's wanted to do with her life from a young age. Eight years ago in an interview with MTN Sports, she told us about her dream.
"My entire goal is to make it to the Olympics some day,” said Weisz in November of 2012.
Fast forward to February of this year, the Belgrade native and U.S. national champion air rifle shooter was in the U.S. Air Rifle Olympic Trials in Colorado Springs. The team takes only the top two shooters for their Olympic squad, and after the second day Weisz was in first place.
In the Trial finals, Weisz admits she didn't shoot that well, so it was going to be a close finish for Ole Miss product. Then her coach approached her during the competition.
“My national coach came up to me and gave me hug and said, ‘Guess what? You made it. You’re going to Tokyo,'” Weisz said.
Relief rushed over Weisz, who finished the Olympic Trials in second place, punching her ticket to the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. It was a dream years in the making.
“I am itching. I can’t wait. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of and it’s a reality. To be able to be walking among Team USA and all of the summer Olympic sports, it’s going to be a huge honor," Weisz smiled.
As the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the sports world and major events began canceling one after the other, Weisz feared the worst.
"Oh my gosh, I worked my whole life for this and the Olympics could be canceled," she said of her thoughts at the time..
Luckily for Weisz, the Olympics Games are being postponed until 2021 and her spot to compete is locked in. But now she has time off, and she is using it to jump into a new opportunity. This week Weisz headed to basic training to join the U.S. Army.
“Mentally, hopefully I’m OK. Physically we will find out,” she laughed.
Weisz was recruited to join the U.S. Army’s Marksmanship Unit (AMU) where she was train to become an even better air rifle shooter. Even though she's nervous to have to complete basic training, she knows how valuable this experience will be.
“Obviously I’m very afraid of it because it is so intense. But when they opened my eyes to seeing it as a huge opportunity to strengthen myself mentally for shooting, when I get back on to the gun and get back shooting and get back to that rhythm, I think I’ll come out even stronger for the Olympics next year," she said.
Weisz is headed to Fort Jackson in South Carolina where she will undergo basic training until October. After, she will represent the Army at all her national competitions.
“I’m an American, I’ll always represent the USA as best as I can," Weisz said. "You get a little emotional realizing that I get to represent my country that so many people in other countries wish they could be a part of.”