By Allie Dosmann | Sept. 26, 2018, 6:20 p.m. (ET)
Sophia Mirabella talks to fellow finalists at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in July 2018 in Colorado Springs, Colo. 

 

It’s never too early to pursue an Olympic dream, and Sophia Mirabella has been training with that in mind.

Mirabella is only 15 years old - the age where most young athletes focus on the fun and friendships of sport.

Not Mirabella, though. She has big goals, a firm plan and the determination that makes those goals seem small.

“I want to be the first woman from New York City to represent boxing (at the Olympic Games),” Mirabella said. “Given this opportunity, I think I could go very far. Then, eventually, I want to transition into MMA.”

Mirabella was selected as a finalist for "Milk Life presents, Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful," a talent-identification program aimed at finding athletes with a background in any sport whose skills could transfer to Olympic sports. The sports for Season 2 are bobsled, boxing, canoe/kayak, cycling, rowing, rugby, skeleton and weightlifting. One winner was selected for each sport, and the winners will attend camps with their sport in hopes of making the national team.

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When Mirabella found out that she was one of the finalists for Next Olympic Hopeful, she adjusted her entire training regimen to focus strictly on the opportunity, which meant traveling to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to compete in a series of tests.

“[My strength and conditioning coach and I] looked over what I would be doing, and we set up everything according to that.” Mirabella said. “I started weightlifting more. It’s high altitude, so I trained with a mask to get my lungs ready.”

It didn’t take long for her to notice a difference, either.

“Adding more strength and conditioning, I can feel myself getting stronger. I can lift more now. I can be more explosive when I run. I usually free spar or free box every day, so it’s just the little changes that will make you go far.”

Mirabella talks about her training like a seasoned veteran, not a 15-year-old hopeful. She has a passion for sport that goes beyond her years, and this opportunity is just her first step.

She sees her age as an advantage, as she arrived to the scouting camp in peak physical condition and with the understanding that she has so much to learn. She also views the Olympic dream as a marathon, not a sprint, so now is the perfect time to get started.

“Being an Olympian, to me, means reaching the most elite level of athleticism. Training for the Olympics requires the highest level of physical conditioning and mental toughness, more so than whatever current sport one is involved in,” Mirabella explains. “To be able to achieve that rank is a lifetime achievement that is not only noteworthy but admirable in all aspects.”

Regardless of the outcome of Mirabella’s tryout, she planned to leave the process with valuable information about how to proceed toward her goals.

“I decided to join the program because I saw it as a great opportunity to test my skills, and it’s great to see how far I could go against all these athletes.”

Watch her journey in a two-part broadcast airing Nov. 24 from 9-10 p.m. ET on NBCSN and Nov. 25 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.