Schuylkill County athletic director, health teacher completely happy to see Olympics again | Information


With the 2021 Olympic Games kicking off in Tokyo on Friday, some local athletes are looking forward to seeing the Games despite COVID-19 restrictions.

Kayla Felty, assistant track and field director at Penn State Schuylkill, said she was excited to see athletes compete this year after the Games were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I have a really deep appreciation for the athletes and what they went through mentally,” said Felty. “You trained for four years, then postponed it and still be in an unfamiliar situation, it must be mentally exhausting.”

Felty said the uncertainty about events being canceled due to COVID-19 cases and the requirements for the test would certainly add extra stress to the athletes, but she believes the experience will be worth it anyway.

“Who knows if you will still be at your peak in four years,” said Felty. “It’s still worth the chance to go.”

Another aspect Felty said could be challenging for the athletes is being restricted to spectators.

“If you don’t have an audience, it can affect the way you think,” said Felty. “Athletes really feed on this mass energy, so it can change the way the Games work.”

As a former softball player, Felty looks forward to watching the softball games and swimming. As a graduate of Villanova University, she also has a personal connection with the men’s basketball team coached by Jay Wright, Villanova’s head coach.

Although Felty plans to watch these events, she said she doesn’t think the Olympics will get that much buzz with viewers this year.

“We’re all so stunned to see everything that goes on online and on TV,” said Felty. “People may not remember getting in the mood for so much going on in the world.”

Felty said the Olympics weren’t the only sporting event hampered by the pandemic, as athletics in Penn State Schuylkill and elsewhere had changed over the past year and a half.

“I’m really excited to see sport happening again, be it Olympic, college or high school,” said Felty.

Sharon Klinger, owner of Schuylkill Aerial and Wellness in Pottsville, said after the Olympics were postponed last year due to COVID-19, she is even more excited to see the Games this year.

“I’ve been looking forward to it all year,” said Klinger. “I marked it on my calendar. Even if there will be a time difference, I plan to see as much as possible. “

The main event that Klinger would like to pursue is gymnastics. Klinger said she enjoyed seeing new moves and routines from gymnasts around the world, but especially Simone Biles from Team USA.

While the environment could possibly be different this year with the COVID-19 restrictions, Klinger believes there could be some benefits.

“It can change the excitement when the audience isn’t there, but the gymnasts can concentrate better,” said Klinger. “I assume that they will do their best.”

As a fitness trainer, Klinger has a particular interest in gymnastics. She opened her Aerial Yoga Studio in 2019 and said that watching Olympic gymnastics helped increase her passion.

“As a child, many of us had the goal of being at the Olympic Games,” said Klinger. “Even if you can’t do it, you can start at any age and pursue your passions in life.”

Klinger said watching athletes at the Olympics shows that pursuing those passions takes time and practice.

“As long as you are willing to learn, you can do anything,” says Klinger.