A former U.S. Olympic team member now works as a physical therapist in Klamath Falls.
Luke Klaja was a weightlifter who made the team in 1980.
Luke Klaja's road to the Olympics passed through the Rogue Valley...
"I was training in Jacksonville, Oregon in a one car, unheated garage - a gravel floor, actually had to lift the weights in between the rafters of the garage."
Klaja notes that he qualified for Olympic trials in 1976, but didn't make the team. "I made it in '80, then the boycott appeared."
Klaja finds the reason behind the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Moscow Summer Games ironic...
"Irony is a good word... 32 years ago, the Russians were in Afganistan. And right now, we are in Afganistan. It seems to have done a full circle."
While he didn't get to compete, Klaja says he's still proud to have made the team. "They always say, 'Once an Olympian, always an Olympian' - and so, I'm an alumni, very proud of the fact that I qualified to be one of 440 athletes that made the summer team."
Klaja still holds U.S. National Masters records for lifting.
And he still pays close attention to the Olympics...
"Always. Everytime I hear the Olympic fanfare, you get goose bumps."
Klaja now works with others to help them reach their physical peak.
Klaja made an attempt to qualify for the 1984 summer games, and placed fourth in his weight class at the Olympic trials. However, only the top three made it to the U.S. Olympic roster.