BOZEMAN — The world said ‘arigato’ to Tokyo earlier this week as the Olympic Flame was extinguished, marking the end of the 2020 Games. It was an Olympics like no other, held in the middle of the resurging COVID-19 pandemic, but an experience Belgrade’s Ali Weisz says she’ll never forget.
“I can’t even really think of any other words other than it was a little bit unbelievable," Weisz said.
The markswoman made her Olympic debut this summer achieving a dream that started as a child right here in the Treasure State.
Normally athletes that compete in shooting don’t attend the opening ceremonies since their event is the following morning, but for Weisz, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience she didn’t want to miss.
“I knew I was going to have a little FOMO if I didn’t go, and I would just be up all night thinking about it," Weisz chuckled. "It’s truly unique because it’s such a moment where everyone comes together and you get to see Team USA as Team USA rather than typically throughout the year when we’re training and competing leading up to the games all the sports are separate, so you never really get to see everyone. It was just really an opportunity to realize how big of a thing we are a part of.”
In her first Olympics games, Weisz finished 14th out of 50 athletes from across the world in the 10-meter air rifle competition.
In the mixed team event, she and her partner finished in sixth, only two places shy of qualifying for the medal round.
“Initially I stepped off the line and was very happy - very proud - and then also a few moments later being a competitive athlete I was kind of disappointed," Weisz explained. "I probably had one of the best performances on everything that I could control. It’s just for whatever reason it wasn’t my day on the individual day and a little bit on the mixed team day as well.”
Despite not finishing how she wanted to, she says she’s never been so proud to represent the United States both in the Army and on the Olympic stage.
"To combine the two and to be able to represent myself and our country and all of our people as a soldier, an athlete, and an ex-master student - all of these things I think was just super honorable and something that I hold my head high for," Weisz smiled.
Weisz hopes there will be more Olympic games in her future and already has her sights set on Paris 2024.
"At the end of the day, I just want to say thank you to the state of Montana, basically all of the people in America, the U.S. Army for giving me this opportunity to represent both the Army and the United States - USA Shooting - everyone that’s been there for me and supporting me through all of this,” she said.