KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Standing beneath the five Olympic rings is a dream of so many, but a privilege of so few.
“The hardest part about preparing for the Olympic Games was the fact that you don’t know if you’re ever going back so at the last one it took me five years of training to get me to that moment and I didn’t know if I’d ever go back, in fact, I didn’t plan on continuing to train after that if I’m being honest,” said 32-year-old Wes Kitts.
It’s hard enough to do it once, but Knoxville native Wes Kitts has had sights set to reach the most coveted stage in sports for a second time.
“The outside looking in, if I qualified for the Olympics and I went, that I’d feel like I was done and accomplished and I completed something I guess but it turns out the longer you weight lift, the more special those PRs are,” Kitts said.
This time around, things look a bit different, Kitts is training in Knoxville rather than California, he’s changed weight classes and he has the experience from the 2020 games, “I know exactly what to expect, I’m probably not as fearful this time, I’m a veteran weight lifter now you know.”
Kitts is currently in the most pivotal part of prep, the prequalification period.
Lying just two months away, his eye is on the 2023 IWF Grand Prix in Cuba as the place to hit a big total that would solidify Kitts in his second Olympic games.
“I feel really confident, I’m doing everything right, we’re making all the right decisions, I’m going to the right meets, I’m doing the right things in training so I don’t see any reason why we don’t go back,” said Kitts.
Clinching a top total early would allow his focus to shift purely on Paris 2024, continuing on a dream that saw it’s roots instilled by his dad many moons ago but then recognized in his mid-20s.
“My mom got these pictures out of my dad and he had done this I think Knoxville Classic or some sort of state body building meet when he was younger, I don’t know since that moment, since seeing those pictures I’ve always just wanted to be in a gym, wanted to see what kind of shape I could get in so even though it’s kind of silly, it’s weird how one moment will set you on a path that ends up being the Olympics,” Kitts said.