Freeport alum misses out on Olympic shot for 2020, perhaps beyond!

FAYETVILLE, AR (WJHG/WECP) Before the pandemic, Freeport alum Gabe Moore was preparing to take his shot at making the U.S. Olympic team.

Freeport alum Gabe Moore ponders future in track

Now he's left with some rather serious decisions to make in terms of where to go from here!

You see after starring on the track at Freeport, Gabe, after a year at a college in Texas, made his way to the University of Arkansas, one of the top collegiate track programs. He found his niche in both the Heptathlon and Decathlon. A two time All American, he finished third at the NCAA Championships in the Decathlon in 2019. That despite battling a nagging knee injury.

He did well enough to earn one of 24 invitations to the Olympic Trials in June, but that now, along with the 2020 games, has been pushed back a year!

So for Moore, if he is to continue his Olympic dream, it means another year of training, including these days of self quarantine. I chatted with Gabe about that from his home in Fayetville!

"You know you're trying to stay inside as much as possible, which makes training kind of difficult. (Scott/Question:) "And that was my next question, for a World Class athlete, you know staying inside is akin to torture isn't it? Answer: "Yeah it's kind of weird, I get kind of stir-crazy sitting inside all the time, thinking what should I do today? You know. I try to do what cross-training I can inside. And then minimize my time outside. I still go outside and run and do my general strength circuits, things like that. And you know obviously I'm not trying to be around other people, so I have to do all of that on my own now."

Not only is it tough to train, but it's tough on Gabe and other decathletes who usually ramp up their training, for basically an entire year! So that all now has to be recalibrated.

"It is really difficult because if you have the Olympic Trials a year out you're going try to work backwards, like ok what meet do I need to score a certain number at to get me into the Trials. And then have a really, really good training leading into the Trials so I can peak for that, like you said. But it's tough now because a lot of people were training for that, planning their seasons around it and then all the meets are done now. So it's really difficult, it's obviously an unprecedented event."

And then there's the cost involved. Since Gabe has graduated, with a Bio-Medical degree, he's no longer on scholarship. And that means as a professional athlete, all the cost of his training and competition falls on him!

"Being a professional Track and Field athlete doesn't pay super well unless you're top three to five in the world. You know obviously I had a good NCAA career, multiple All-Americans and all that, but going from the NCAA to the world stage is a whole different monster. So a big part of it is finances, like how long can I keep training and paying for you know travel and meets and hotels."

And so a very tough decision hangs in the balance. Keep pushing on at his own expense, or put that degree to work for him and start earning a good living! Gabe says finances won't be the biggest factor in that decision.

"Ultimately I think my person well-being and how healthy I am and how happy I am are the most important things. Because at the end of the day I'm Gabe the guy, you know, who tries to be a good person and has good morals and just tries to be a good person. And not Gabe the decathlete. So I don't want to always look back and say I was defined by track and field, or I was defined by this or that. I just want to be happy, I guess at the end of the day, is what I'm trying to get at. And you know, talk to my family, friends, coaches."

Still no matter what the call, either way, there will be some "cost" involved!

"I've struggled with injuries, like healthy and then being injured and bouncing back from that. So I've been able to adapt and bounce back from a lot of things that have been disappointing, or could have been events that made me shut down, or not try as hard, or things like that. But I always wanted to bounce back and persevere so this may be just another one of those opportunities. Or it may be, it might be the end of the road. Which is tough to terms with because I've been doing it for so long. And it's a sport that I've loved for so long."

We wish Gabe the best in making that call.