DEWITT, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – After two years of trying, LaFayette native Tisha Knickerbocker was going to make her debut at the 2020 Invictus Games this spring in the The Hague, Netherlands. But, like all sports during the Coronavirus pandemic the games have been postponed.
“It’s really strange to try to imagine that everything I been working for the last couple years is kinda thrown away right now,” said Knickerbocker.
While the feeling of competing in this year’s games is on hold, Tisha will never forget the moment she finally made it.
“I was so excited. And then I got extremely nervous all at the same time. Because I was like ‘oh God’ what can I do better, how can I get better,” said Knickerbocker. “Just being to selected in itself and be able to compete is awesome but I want to win.”
Winning is how she got this far. The last two years at at the 2018 and 2019 Warrior Games, Tisha competed in 17 events picking up seven gold medals and setting two Warrior Games records.
At Marine Trials for the games she tried out in power lifting, rowing, swimming, hand cycling and her new event track chair. Normally, athletes only do three events in competition, but Tisha can never hold herself back. Much to the dismay of the Marine Corps.
“They’re already a little like Tisha we need you to tone it down, just pick three I’m like ‘I don’t know how to pick three I do well in all of them’”.
Tisha could have more than a year before the Invictus Games come around again with no gyms currently open to stay in shape. But with the help of others she has the ability to stay fit at home.
“4 the fallen has provided me with the equipment that you see here,” Tisha says gesturing to her homemade gym in her living room. “The rower, this bench. Move Along and Team Semper Fi have helped me with the hand cycle so those are a lot of my events that keep me in shape and prepared no matter what the situation is.”
“I can’t swim unfortunately but there’s the Heroes’ Movement which is a gym program that I utilize and the gym that they work with is Elite Personal fitness in Camillus and they have been providing me with at home workouts since they had to shut down the gym,” Knickerbocker added. “That’s what makes it so I can stay in the right spot and stay focused on competing despite all the adversity of everything that’s going on right now.”
Knickerbocker likes to add events because she likes to find new sports with adaptive characteristics and continue to challenge herself. But with every new event or workout she has to be careful to not overexert herself. Luckily for those moments she has her service dog ‘Cuse by her side.
“She’s a blessing when one day I’m moving around pretty good, walking around not having any issues. And then I do a really hard workout or something I needed to do after doing that, I’m having trouble walking, I can’t bend over even laying down is an issue. So having her to help me get up or grab stuff for me is a huge benefit to me,” said Knickerbocker.
Tisha normally trains in some way seven days a week.
The Invictus Games have no new date yet for 2021. For now the 2020 Warrior Games set for September 21-28 in San Antonio are still uncertain to happen as scheduled. But Tisha will be ready.
“Once the gyms open back up, I’m going to be back at it pretty hard,” said Knickerbocker.
Links attached in the story above to organizations that have helped Tisha and many other veterans can also be found below:
Patriotic Service Dog Foundation: https://www.patrioticservicedogfoundation.org/
4 the Fallen: https://www.4-thefallen.org/
Heroes’ Movement: https://www.heroesmovementusa.org/
Move Along Inc.: https://www.movealonginc.org/
Semper Fi Fund: https://semperfifund.org/
Disabled Sports USA: https://www.disabledsportsusa.org/