LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas City, Missouri, native Mason Finley has his sights set on gold as he prepares for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. And on Thursday, Kansas City-area Toyota dealers surprised the discuss competitor with a new Toyota Tundra as their way to show support for Team USA.
“Yeah, it was definitely a shock,” Finley said. “I thought I was coming out here to do some throws in the great weather, but got surprised with a truck.”
The University of Kansas alumnus will return to the Olympic stage for the first time since his Rio debut in 2016. At this point, he said, all the heavy lifting and training is done; it is all about making sure his heart and mind are in the right place.
“When everything connects, it’s so addicting,” Finley said. “You just got to figure out how to stay relaxed, calm, collected and confident.”
A lot has changed in the past five years, according to Finley, most notably, his confidence and peace about what is to come.
“Experience is the biggest one — just being at the Olympics the first time and then World Championships in 2017,” Finley said. “I got on the podium with a bronze medal, so I just feel like I’ve been there. I’m just ready to go.”
This year on the world stage, Mason is eyeing a new personal record and hopes to bring home the gold following a tough season.
“COVID was the biggest challenge, you know. We still spun it into a positive by saying we have a extra year to work on stuff we wouldn’t have normally had time to work on, but that’s always tough,” Finley said. “When there’s like a lull, because there’s been no meets for me, I had to build a weight room in the garage. There was a lot of adversity to overcome.”
To help make his vision a reality, he also has an army of support. He met his wife, Madison Finley, through a dating app and they are expecting a baby girl, Hayden, in October.
“It wasn’t so much the Olympian that drew me in as much as it was second place at a 4-H baking competition? Cake decorating competition,” Madison Finley said. “So it was just those quirky little things that drew me in.”
Madison Finley said it has been a joy to watch her husband’s confidence grow and to see him become more comfortable in his own skin.
“He doesn’t burn out, which is kind of weird,” she said. “I mean, he’s been doing this since third grade — 10? I mean, he’s 30 now and he’s still just as passionate to wake up everyday and go to practice.”