The road to Tokyo 2020: A week in quotes

Maria Dimitrova

Athletes around the world have been busying themselves in preparation for the resumption of live sport, with some nations allowing training complexes to open and others even giving the green light for competitive action to start.

Tokyo 2020 has been speaking to several athletes whose journey to the Olympic and Paralympic Games is slowly gathering pace.

Rickshaw driver, house painter, mechanic... and one of the fastest men in the world

2019 Getty Images

Sport took me off the wrong path.

I am happy to be an athlete in my country.

Growing up in Colombia was not easy for Anthony Zambrano, where many people have to learn to earn a living from an early age. However, despite all of this, his dreams of winning an Olympic medal have stayed alive.

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Chaehyun Seo: Climbing to the top of the world

Now, the postponement has become a motivation to me.

Sport climbing will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo next year and among those aiming to finish on the podium is Korean climber Chaehyun Seo. Despite only making her senior debut last year, the teenager immediately attracted worldwide attention. Ranked no.1 (in women’s lead) and IFSC Lead World Cup overall title, Seo's achievements raised the possibility an Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.

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Leigh Godfrey: The Olympics means more to me than I thought

Leigh Melissa Godfrey #17 of Australia hits game winning RBI in the eighth inning against Mexico during their Playoff Round match at the 2018 WBSC Women's Softball World Championship (Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images)
Leigh Melissa Godfrey #17 of Australia hits game winning RBI in the eighth inning against Mexico during their Playoff Round match at the 2018 WBSC Women's Softball World Championship (Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images)
2018 Getty Images

but it's everything...it's why I get up in the morning, it's why you miss out on family functions, it's why you don't get to do all these things in life.

I would love to find the words to explain how excited I am to potentially go to the Olympics.

After being dropped from the London 2012 and Rio 2016 sport programme, softball is making its long-waited return to the Olympic stage. But after the postponement of Tokyo 2020, Australian player Leigh Godfrey, she never realised how much being an Olympian meant to her.

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Canadian wheelchair basketball star Cindy Ouellet aims for podium in Tokyo

Cindy Ouellet of Canada tips over during the Women's Wheelchair Basketball quarter-finals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games (Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)
Cindy Ouellet of Canada tips over during the Women's Wheelchair Basketball quarter-finals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games (Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)
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I would love to be that team to win Canada’s first medal in years at the Paralympic Games.

Cindy Ouellet is a star of Canada’s women’s wheelchair basketball team. While she grew up watching the team win three consecutive Paralympic gold, this is achievement that has eluded the current national team since Athens 2004.

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María Dimitrova: The face of karate in the Dominican Republic

Maria Dimitrova of Dominican Republic competes in the Women's Individual Kata event during the ANOC World Beach Games (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images for ANOC)
Maria Dimitrova of Dominican Republic competes in the Women's Individual Kata event during the ANOC World Beach Games (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images for ANOC)
2019 Getty Images

My plans remain the same so far. It has not changed, but simply one more year has been added to the Olympic cycle.

Like many other athletes around the world, karateka María Dimitrova had to adjust all her plans with the postponement of the Olympic Games. The Bulgarian-born athlete keeps training at home in the Dominican Republic with a very clear goal: to be present in the Olympic debut of her sport. 

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Lauren Steadman: Still feels like the first time

Lauren Steadman won gold at the 2018 ITU World Championships on the Gold Coast, Australia
Lauren Steadman won gold at the 2018 ITU World Championships on the Gold Coast, Australia
ITU Media

Each and every time I stepped in an arena to represent Great Britain at a Paralympics, it held the same feeling as the first time.

At just 15, British triathlete Lauren Steadman made her Paralympic Games debut. And now, 12 years on, she is looking to qualifying for her fourth Paralympics. While she has since changed sports, there is one thing that has never changed...the feeling she gets when representing Great Britain on the biggest sporting stage.

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Hirayama: Tokyo 2020 is for players past and present

Derek Stevens Photography 2020

They were the first group I thought about.

I do feel that they've kind of laid the foundation to qualify last summer.

After missing out on qualifying four years ago, Canada's rugby sevens men's team are set to make their Olympic debut next summer. Securing qualification had been a goal for veteran national team member Nathan Hirayama however, booking their tickets to Tokyo 2020 was not just an achievement for the squad but for all those before them too.

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Team Canada nominate 17 cyclists for Tokyo 2020

Canada compete in the Women's Team Pursuit Track Cycling at Rio 2016.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Canada compete in the Women's Team Pursuit Track Cycling at Rio 2016. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
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Well it's official. I am so proud and honoured to announce that I have been selected to represent Canada at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 - Kelsey Mitchell

Read the reaction of some of the cyclists picked by Team Canada for Tokyo 2020.

Lex Gillette: "Don't give up on 2020"

Lex Gillette of the USA competes in the men's 100m - T11 semi-final during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images for Tokyo 2020)
Lex Gillette of the USA competes in the men's 100m - T11 semi-final during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images for Tokyo 2020)
2016 Getty Images

So I just want to encourage you to don't give up on 2020.

We still have five months left.

There's still amazingness (sic.) to achieve.

Leading into a new year, people around the world had their goals, ambitions and aspirations set but 2020 threw a curve ball. With the world facing incredible challenges, four-time Paralympian Lex Gillette reminded listeners that we can fight through this together.

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