SAN RAMON, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Following months of anticipation, dedication, and hard work, Seattle resident and former 24 Hour Fitness personal trainer Leah Fair has been declared one of six winners of “Milk Life presents, The Next Olympic Hopeful,” Season 3 and has begun training to compete for a spot on the U.S. National Skeleton Team.
The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC), in partnership with 24 Hour Fitness, conducted the annual nationwide search to discover world-class athletes who have what it takes to represent the United States in Olympic competition. Earlier this summer, more than 4,800 individuals submitted online applications to the USOPC’s website and hundreds tried out in 24 Hour Fitness® clubs nationwide in hopes of being one of the lucky athletes to advance to the next level of competition.
From the nationwide tryouts, 50 athletes were invited to participate in the final phase of “Milk Life Presents, The Next Olympic Hopeful,” which was held at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The USOPC’s talent-identification program seeks to build the pipeline of undiscovered, world-class athletes pursing Olympic sport.
The winning athlete who tried out in the 24 Hour Fitness Bothell club, took the next steps toward achieving her Olympic dreams:
- Leah Fair, skeleton winner of The Next Olympic Hopeful, invited to train with the U.S. National Skeleton Team. Originally from South Carolina, Leah resides in Seattle near the 24 Hour Fitness® Bothell club location for Next Olympic Hopeful tryouts. As a former 24 Hour Fitness personal trainer, she always dreamt of becoming an Olympic athlete and became a competitive high school track athlete. She earned a No. 1 state ranking, was named South Carolina’s Athlete of the Year and earned a full scholarship to Colorado State University. To continue her track career after college, Leah moved to Seattle. Following an ankle injury, she renewed her training.
The full list of winning athletes:
- Jackson Capela (Detroit, Michigan), cycling
- Leah Fair (Gaffney, South Carolina), skeleton
- Ceara Gray (Birmingham, Alabama), weightlifting
- DeAira Jackson (Fontana, California), rugby sevens
- Alex Mustard (Missoula, Montana), bobsled
- Zach Reider (Dardenne Parairie, Missouri), rowing
These athletes braved intensive screening and sport-specific training by USOPC and National Governing Body high performance staff with additional guidance provided by USOPC-Silver-certified 24 Hour Fitness personal trainer, Sam Taylor.
In addition to the six winners, four athletes from the 24 Hour Fitness in-club tryouts were extended invitations by participating National Governing Bodies to continue training with their identified sports:
- Re’Quan Harley, bobsled finalist, Next Olympic Hopeful, invited to train with the U.S. National Bobsled Team. Originally from Washington D.C., Re’Quan resides in Los Angeles and travelled to 24 Hour Fitness Downey for Next Olympic Hopeful tryouts. A natural athlete and personal trainer, he aspired to become an Olympic athlete. As a high-school runner, he broke school records, qualified for national championships and received a full scholarship to California State University, Northridge, where he competed as a decathlete. A hamstring injury during competition put his Olympic athlete goals on hold. Re-committing to training led to his Next Olympic Hopeful journey.
- Deana Richardson, multiple finalist, Next Olympic Hopeful, invited to train with several National Governing Bodies; currently working with the U.S. National Weightlifting Team. From San Antonio, Texas, Deana drove three hours to the 24 Hour Fitness Katy Bella Terra club for The Next Olympic Hopeful tryouts. Competing at the highest athletic level has always been a dream for Deana. A multi-sport athlete who ran track and played volleyball in high school, Deana went to college on a track scholarship and works professionally as a personal trainer.
- Kelli Vandermoer, rowing finalist, Next Olympic Hopeful, invited to train with the U.S. National Rowing Team. Originally from Union City, California, Kelli is a 24 Hour Fitness personal trainer in Sacramento who drove two hours to the 24 Hour Fitness club in San Jose where The Next Olympic Hopeful tryouts took place. Standing six feet tall, she was recruited in high school for a number of sports and joined the track team, becoming a high jump champion. A car accident derailed her athletic plans until a local college track coach became her mentor/coach to this day. Her father was a competitive athlete and Kelli dreams of following in his footsteps.
The 2020 search for the Next Olympic Hopeful Season 4 will take place in 24 Hour Fitness clubs nationwide for the fourth consecutive year on February 8, 2020. Information about the in-club tryouts is now available 24HourFitness.com/NextOlympicHopeful
About the USOPC
Founded in 1894 and headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee serves as both the National Olympic Committee and National Paralympic Committee for the United States. The USOPC is focused on protecting, supporting and empowering America’s athletes and is responsible for fielding U.S. teams for the Olympic, Paralympic, Youth Olympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games, while serving as the steward of the Olympic and Paralympic movements throughout the country. For more information, visit TeamUSA.org.
About 24 Hour Fitness
Celebrating over 35 years as an industry leader, 24 Hour Fitness transforms lives every day through fitness. Conveniently located clubs, furnished with a wide variety of strength, cardio and functional training equipment, are the perfect environment for fitness professionals to deliver dynamic personal and group training programs. GX24® and cycle studios feature a popular array of live studio classes included with membership. A multitude of additional offerings engage and inspire every member to lead a full and healthy life both inside and outside of the club. Opening new clubs on average at the brisk pace of one every few weeks, 24 Hour Fitness is headquartered in San Ramon, CA and serves nearly 4 million members in over 440 clubs nationwide. Please visit 24hourfitness.com for more information and to find a club near you.