Bend boxer, 36, taking Olympic shot after 4 kids, 2 hip surgeries

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It’s the type of comeback story movies are made about — an aging boxer gets knocked down, literally and figuratively, but refuses to stay down.

This “Hollywood” story is true, playing out in Central Oregon. It’s the comeback story of boxer Whitney “Hollywood” Gomez and her unlikely return to the ring.

“Her life is a bit different than the normal boxer. I mean, she has three children. She’s married. She works out during the day. She teaches classes, fitness classes and then she comes to practice at night again,” said boxing coach Richard Miller.

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Whitney is the first female from Oregon to go to the Olympic Trials. This is a big deal. You know, it’s not like it’s not the district championship or the state championship. This is the to make the Olympic team.”

“Just to imagine being there and walking in the opening ceremonies and just that feeling and the energy. It sometimes is a super overwhelming feeling, but in a good way,” Gomez said.

It’s been four years since Gomez was boxing at the Olympic Trials in Louisiana, fighting to make the U.S. Olympic team before falling just short and having her lifelong dream shattered.

“Heartbreaking. Almost made me feel lost for a while,” Gomez said.

These days, life looks a little different for the now 36-year-old. There was an eight-year gap, but in 2021, she had her fourth child. At the end of 2022, she had surgeries on both her hips.

“Had to learn how to walk on the leg again and my glute muscles were shut off,” Gomez said. “A lot of tears. A lot of pain.”


Gomez went from boxer to teacher, sticking at home and homeschooling post-pandemic.

With the writing on the wall, she let her Olympic dreams die. Her hips and health forced her to hang up the gloves and transition into coach.

I asked her in April if it was over for good. She left the door cracked, but only barely.

“I don’t think I’m done, but I also am OK if that is what comes to be,” Gomez said then.

‘This is stupid. I’m boxing again’

But then, in June, driving home after a coaching session, Gomez had a change of heart.

“I just felt like, you know what? This is stupid. I’m boxing again. I can’t not have that be part of my life,” she said now.

She didn’t care that she was 36. She didn’t care that her hips weren’t cooperating or that everyone was going to tell her she couldn’t or was crazy. She decided that she didn’t want to be a former boxer. She wanted to be a current boxer,” Gomez said.

“I told Richard, if you’re on board and you’ll help me get ready, that’s what I want to do,” she said.

“I didn’t see it coming, but I’m not surprised by it either,” Miller said.

Cue the training…

Read More: Bend boxer, 36, taking Olympic shot after 4 kids, 2 hip surgeries 2023-12-07 01:54:25

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