Hildebrandt earned a bye into the best-of-three final by winning the Final X the previous year, and proceeded to defeat challenge tournament champion Victoria Anthony on a pair of technical falls, 12-2 and 10-0 to earn her spot on the USA Olympic Team.
“Since April I expected to hit the ground running,” Hildebrandt said. “For me, coming down from Trials was rough. I was exhausted, and tried to give myself a break, but being on such a high it was hard to navigate.”
Hildebrandt’s Olympic dream almost did not happen. The Games were originally scheduled for the last summer but were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to some unnerving times last spring.
“I was definitely jarring as you can imagine,” continued Hildebrandt. “There was a three week period where we weren’t sure if the Games would get postponed or canceled and that was definitely a tough time to operate in. It was very scary. Once we got the clear that it was postponed, it was like, OK, we have another year to train. Let’s make the most of it and come out in 2021 better than I am now. Once I was able to make that shift it was back into a training phase.”
As Hildebrandt continues training, it doesn’t feel any different than preparing for another World Championship.
“It still hasn’t sunk in. I don’t know if it ever will. On a day-to-day basis, nothing is different,” commented Hildebrandt. “I’m training for another World Championship, essentially, but when I stop and think about this is a goal I’ve had my whole life, I just stop and chuckle, this is really neat and special. I feel like it hasn’t sunk in, I’ve just been training, training, training and maybe two weeks after the Olympics it will sink in.”
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