BELGRADE — Belgrade’s Ali Weisz qualified for the U.S. Air Rifle Olympic team back in May, the same month she left for Army Basic Training.
“I enjoyed Basic Training a lot," the soon-to-be Olympian said. "It was such a unique experience and I really went into it to look at it as a growth opportunity and just took every day as exactly that -- another opportunity to grow.”
After Weisz completed Basic Training, she spent nine weeks learning human resources in AIT (Advancing Individual Training), spending almost five months before she was able to head to the Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning in Georgia and fire her air rifle.
“Taking that time off was an interesting time, but I think it was actually beneficial and, again, a growth opportunity in a very different way," Weisz said. "I get to be a part of the Army, something so much bigger than myself, a unique opportunity and my job is to come out every day and train with my air rifle and compete at the best ability overseas, winning World Cup medals, Olympics medals, anything winning is what our goal is.”
The whole reason the Belgrade native and Ole Miss alum joined the Army was because she wanted to improve her skills even more for the Olympics. She spends four to five hours per day training, firing her rifle over 100 times.
“Right now, I would say I am a little bit above where I left off before I went into Basic Training," Weisz said. "When I look at myself as a person and a competitor, I think I am for sure ahead of where I was.”
With the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo postponed due to COVID-19, it has been a blessing in disguise, giving her more time to prepare heading into the Games this year in late July and early August, if they are allowed to go on as planned.
“I know at first it was really hard to see it like that, but I was given an opportunity that a lot of people in this sport would have never been given,” said Weisz.
For Weisz, being on the Olympic team and in the Army means a lot to serve her country in various ways, but she also looks to be a role model for young kids from Montana, showing them they can achieve their dreams.
“I hope that my image is out there enough and I hope it is a positive one as well to push little girls, young girls, young boys, whoever in this state, that they can go above and beyond,” said the Army Specialist.