JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There is one gym in Jacksonville with the goal of changing the way American weightlifting is viewed in the Olympics, and they're doing it one athlete at a time.
But the intense pressure usually associated with Olympic training isn't as apparent at the Athlete Development Center. While they have high goals they are working toward, they are also younger than most Olympians, so they have to be patient.
"I don’t tell a lot of people just because I told some kids and they thought it was weird but you know their loss," said Blythe Stanley, an 11-year-old weightlifter at ADC.
"A lot of people start younger, I started when I was in third grade, so when I was about eight years old."
This is just one of the sports she’s training in for the upcoming junior Olympics.
"She… She’s okay with it. She just doesn't want me to get hurt," Stanley said of her mother's stance on the sport.
On the other hand, her dad couldn't be more excited about it.
"He’s all for it. So he’s like you want to go you want to go?"
Stanley trains after school and sometimes on the weekends.
"She’s a thrill to work with," said Tyler Reagan, another weightlifter in the gym. "Me and coach joke as soon as she hits the first step we don’t think she touches the floor because she just bounces everywhere."
Reagan, ten years her senior, is a coach, mentor and trainee at ADC.
"She’s definitely bit up with the bug," said Reagan of Stanley.
Years apart, but only inches away as they train three to four days a week for about 2 1/2 hours, lifting different weights nonstop.
For Reagan, however, those weights aren’t very different from the guys he had to tackle on the football field.
"I got 25 scholarship offers to play Division One football," said Reagan. "I played at NC State for two seasons before I had a severe hip injury where I tore my hip flexor and my mom got real sick so I came back home."
A loss of a dream might devastate some, but not for Tyler. He simply moved his strengths elsewhere.
"Make the Olympic team in 2020 and 2024,"said Reagan of his ultimate goal in weightlifting. "My mom and dad have supported me since I was 8, every meet I’ve been at they’ve been there."
For him it’s more than a medal, because, he has all the metal he’ll ever need in that gym every week.
"I want to represent my country and wear red, white and blue on my chest because it’s the greatest country in the world."