Amelia Moore, right, fights during the U.S Olympic Boxing Trials in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in Dec. 2019. USA Boxing photo

Amelia Moore’s toughest opponent in 2020 might have been the one she couldn’t see.

The amateur boxer and Team USA member, who grew up in Norway, spent much of the spring and summer fighting obstacles created by the coronavirus pandemic, rather than preparing to go to Tokyo for the Summer Olympics.

Moore’s dreams of Olympic competition were all but dashed when she fell short of claiming the lone spot for Team USA at the 60-kilogram weight class, but she is currently the alternate for Rashida Ellis of Lynn, Mass., who won a unanimous decision between the two fighters during the Olympic Boxing Trials last December.

“I think our weight class, it was like the difference was the margin of a hair, and it really could have gone either way, but the team chose to select her,” Moore said. “So as of right now, unless something comes up — injury, poor performance, conduct, any of those things that can sway in my favor. I just have to continue to be ready, show up, be ready for opportunity, and really just keep performing. And so, you never know. This year, in itself, has just kind of shown that anything can happen. So really it’s just about being ready for my opportunity, and at the very least, going to Tokyo, I’ll be probably, more than likely, taken as a sparring partner. So more than likely, probably still going to Tokyo but not competing, which is a huge bummer.”

Moore said she wishes Ellis the best and will be cheering for her weight-class rival’s success, but being the alternate is “making me reach harder for growth in every opportunity that I’m given.”

“There’s nothing like getting punched in the face to make you really look yourself in the mirror, and really kind of deal with everything that’s inside of you. Because everything’s got to be pretty cohesive in order to be out in that ring,” Moore said. “So you put your everything and your all into this. And it’s going to hurt your heart, but at the same time, you have to decide whether that’s a make or break for you. And for me, honestly, it’s a resiliency factor.”

Resiliency. It’s something that Moore said all athletes have had to keep in constant supply during the pandemic. That, and resourcefulness.

Amelia Moore is a 2008 Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School graduate. Submitted photo

Moore, herself, bought her own heavy bag second-hand and hung it up in her garage. She trained in her backyard and did a lot of running.

But that only started three months ago. Before that, boxing wasn’t at the forefront of her thoughts. Her job in the accounts payable department for UC Health, based out of Colorado, was.

Moore said the Team USA boxers were one of the last groups to leave the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs — only a handful of weeks after her last fight, a tournament loss in Bulgaria in late January. She quickly turned her attention to her job.

“Because of what was going on, I had reached out to my boss and I said ‘The hospital’s going to go to war here pretty soon, so I’m here in whatever capacity that you need me to,’ and my first 18 days of the beginning of the pandemic were 10-hour works days,” she said. “I pretty much put my gloves aside and was just working 18 days straight. It’s like a drastic difference. I haven’t done anything like that probably in about four years, since the end of the last Olympic cycle.”

Moore said working in the healthcare industry and hearing stories of COVID-related calls coming in was heavy.
“It just weighs so heavy to kind of hear what was really going on,” she said.

Moore tried to escape that reality by turning to hiking.

“Just trying to stay active and kind of keep your mind right,” she said. “There’s definitely been some really dark days. But at the same time, it’s been like that for everybody.”

When the hysteria cooled down and the country began to reopen, Moore returned to Maryland, where she resided when not at the Olympic Training Center. She met up with a coach in Virginia, and later spent two weeks training in Boston as part of a two-month journey up and down the East Coast. There was a two-week stay in Houston to train around Fourth of July — and around the time that the city saw a surge in COVID-19 cases.

“I was getting phone calls from so many people,” Moore said. “I think people thought it was like the land of the walking dead.”

That resourcefulness showed up in Houston, too, with Moore using her friend’s big-screen TV as a computer monitor while she sat on the floor of the friend’s apartment so she could do her accounts-payable work.

Moore eventually returned to Colorado, where she has been ever since. She said Colorado has become more of a home than she ever thought it would be.

Of course, the pandemic is still playing a part in life. The Team USA boxers were able to return to Colorado Springs for training, but not the Olympic Training Center. They instead had to transform a ballroom at nearby Hotel Elegante into a makeshift training center.

The team has only partially returned to the Olympic Training Center, Moore said, after going through COVID and antibody testing.

“We’re pushing really hard because the boxing team, at least, the qualification team has to be in Germany at the end of this month,” she said.

Moore won’t be going to Germany, or later to France, for training and competition throughout the end of September and much of October, which she called another “big bummer.” She was hoping to at least go as a sparring partner.

Instead, she’ll set her sights on the USA Boxing National Championships in December, which have been moved to Shreveport, Louisiana, from Lake Charles, Louisiana, after the latter was heavily damaged by Hurricane Laura.

And in the oncoming horizon there’s the pushed-back Tokyo Olympics, which Moore expects to take place because there’s too much money involved for them not to happen.

All signs point to her not being able to compete.

As for the 2024 Summer Olympics, when she’ll be 34 years old? She hasn’t looked that far ahead.

“It’s really, really hard to tell right now. For me, I’m seeing this all the way through. I want to make it through the 2021 games,” Moore said. “And then, I keep telling people — even before all of this happened — I’m always going to be open and ready for any and all opportunities that knock at my door or present themselves.”

“Everything’s kind of pushed off by a year for me now,” she added. “So that’s kind of where it’s sitting at. Staying prepared, trying to stay patient and not get frustrated. Because of all this happening, it’s put my life on hold. My future pursuits.”


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