An athlete who won Olympic gold with Team USA is looking forward to watching summer athletes compete at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
“I can only imagine how excited they are,” Amanda Pelkey said. “I’m excited for them!”
In 2018, Pelkey won gold in the Winter Olympics in South Korea, as part of the U.S. Hockey Team at the time. Her hometown of Montpelier, Vermont later hosted a big celebration of her accomplishment.
Pelkey said winter and summer Olympians often have friendships closer than what most people may realize—like hers with soccer standouts Kristie and Sam Mewis of Hanson, Massachusetts.
The athletes used to work out together when Pelkey lived in Boston, she said. Because of that, to the hockey player, the highlight of the Tokyo Olympics will be watching the Mewis sisters in action on the soccer field.
“Just to see girls that you’ve trained with and enjoyed the training with and see them out there—I’m really pumped,” Pelkey said in an interview with NECN Friday. “I’ve got to get a couple jerseys of theirs.”
Now living in Canada and playing professionally for a team in Calgary, Pelkey also runs skills programs for youth players, including her AMP Hockey Camp this week in Stowe, Vermont.
“I’ve watched a lot of her games—and I love watching her,” 6th grader Ashley Reilly of Burlington, Massachusetts said of Pelkey.
“I’ve been trying to work as hard as Amanda’s been working, and she’s my big inspiration,” said another camper, 8th grader Izzy Butler of Lyndon, Vermont.
One source of inspiration won’t be available to this year’s summer Olympians. Organizers of the Summer Games announced this week that no spectators will be watching the competitions in-person in most stadiums, as part of Japan’s COVID-19 state of emergency.
“Well, you have to dig deeper to find your own energy,” Pelkey said of what it would be like to compete in a largely-empty venue. “But really, when you’re playing for something on a larger scale—much bigger than yourself—you don’t really need the spectators, right? You kind of have to generate that own energy, and that’s why those players are elite. I think that’s what makes them the best.”
The gold medalist will get to see who else can call themselves that when the Tokyo Olympics start July 23.