OLYMPICS: Athletes talk preparing for games, hopes for 2020

Posted at 2:30 PM, Feb 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-19 20:31:16-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With the 2018 Winter Olympics entering the final week, Olympians living in the metro have their sights set on the next edition in Tokyo in 2020.

Mason Finley, who lives in Lawrence and throws the discus, represented Team USA in the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro.

On Monday, 41 Action News joined him as he trained on the University of Kansas campus.

"Right now is the boring stuff,” he explained. "It's the off-season. It’s a lot of heavy weights and heavy objects being thrown."

Finley said he trains around five to six hours a day, from throwing discus to doing cardio workouts and lifting weights.

After experiencing the Olympics two years ago and finishing in 11th place, he hoped the work now would help him get back to the games.

"This is the grind,” he told 41 Action News. “You love to do it because you know it will pay off in the summer."

Finley, who is now sponsored by Nike, has found success in competition since the Rio games.

Last year, he won a bronze medal at the IAFF World Championships in London.

Moving forward, he said his experiences in recent years would help him prepare for the 2020 summer games.

"Now that I have that experience, I know what to expect,” he explained. "It's really awesome to be a part of that history.”

At the same KU facility on Monday, triple jump athlete Andrea Geubelle trained near Finley.

Geubelle, who placed 21st in the triple jump at the 2016 Summer Olympics, would also like to return the games in the future.

She said watching the 2018 Winter Olympics brought back the rush of competing for Team USA.

“It’s been nerve-racking for me because I know that feeling of training your whole life for that one moment,” explained Geubelle, who has enjoyed watching skiing during the winter games. "We make mistakes just like everybody else does so my heart just breaks when I see the falls and everything not coming together perfectly at that moment."

Finley said all of the Team USA winter athletes likely felt the same excitement he experienced two years ago.

"You've got your USA jersey on. You're competing for your country. I had my mom and my sisters in the stands cheering me on. It was absolutely incredible,” the discus thrower explained. "I know they're feeling pride by wearing a US shirt & the jersey and being able to represent their country, their families, and their hometown."

Moving forward, Finley hopes to compete in the 2019 IAFF World Championships in Qatar before taking on other American discus throwers in Olympic qualifying.