The road to Tokyo 2020: A week in quotes

Kimura Keiichi of Japan competes in the men's 100m butterfly-S11 final during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images for Tokyo 2020)
Kimura Keiichi of Japan competes in the men's 100m butterfly-S11 final during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images for Tokyo 2020)

Athletes around the world have been busying themselves with less than a year to go, 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.

Michel Muñoz Malagón: 'Why be normal, if you can be extraordinary'

The Mexican Michel Muñoz Malagón is currently preparing to compete in rowing at Tokyo 2020
The Mexican Michel Muñoz Malagón is currently preparing to compete in rowing at Tokyo 2020

I dare to do what other people do not dare to do for fear of failing, of not achieving.

I like to say: 'Why be normal, if you can be extraordinary'.

While Michel Muñoz Malagón is looking to make his Paralympic Games debut next summer, the Para rower from Mexico also has a burning desire to go above and beyond to inspire others to achieve their dreams.

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Markus Rehm: ‘Don’t allow anybody to tell you what you are able or not able to do’

Markus Rehm of TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen competes outside the men's long jump final at the 2018 German Athletics Championships at Max-Morlock-Stadionon in Nuremberg, Germany.  (Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Markus Rehm of TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen competes outside the men's long jump final at the 2018 German Athletics Championships at Max-Morlock-Stadionon in Nuremberg, Germany. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)
2018 Getty Images

I don’t have to be the role model to follow,

but I want to be the one who’s showing an option, an example. I show what can be.

Markus Rehm is a double Paralympic long jump gold medallist who is hoping to achieve a historic treble when he competes at next year's Games. He recently spoke to Tokyo 2020 about his love for the host city, building stronger connections between the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and how saying he is an inspiration to others is the greatest compliment you could pay him.

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Erica Gavel: 'It will be the best Games ever'

Canada takes on Brazil in the semifinal in women’s wheelchair basketball at the 2019 Parapan Am Games in Lima, Peru. Photo: Dave Holland/Canadian Paralympic Committee.
Canada takes on Brazil in the semifinal in women’s wheelchair basketball at the 2019 Parapan Am Games in Lima, Peru. Photo: Dave Holland/Canadian Paralympic Committee.
Dave Holland/Canadian Paralympic Committee

"We're definitely going to win a medal.

Last summer, we played against a lot of the top teams and we beat every team in the world except for China.

Canada's wheelchair basketball player Erica Gavel believes the team have what it takes to recapture their former Paralympic glory. Gavel juggles a highly demanding athletic career and her PhD studies, while also setting her sights on helping Canada to a medal at Tokyo 2020.

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Self-confidence gained abroad helps KIMURA Keiichi see himself as “quite an extraordinary guy”

Kimura Keiichi of Japan competes in the men's 100m butterfly-S11 final during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images for Tokyo 2020)
Kimura Keiichi of Japan competes in the men's 100m butterfly-S11 final during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images for Tokyo 2020)
2016 Getty Images

Many athletes are hoping that the Paralympic Games will trigger a transformation in Tokyo and Japan.

Japan's top Para swimmer KIMURA Keiichi is not only hoping to earn his first gold medal at Tokyo 2020 but also want to put a spotlight on the Paralympic Movement in his home nation.

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Mouthwatering duel ends with 26 year record broken

Armand Duplantis of Sweden competes in the Men's Pole Vault during the Monaco 2020 Diamond League meeting on August 14, 2020 (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Armand Duplantis of Sweden competes in the Men's Pole Vault during the Monaco 2020 Diamond League meeting on August 14, 2020 (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
2020 Getty Images

I don't want to put a cap on myself and the more I grow into the sport I realise there is no real limit to what I can do.

While no world records were broken during the pole vault only competition at Diamond League meeting in Lausanne (2 September), it certainly was an interesting and intense competition between heavy hitters world record holder Mondo Duplantis and two-time World Champion Sam Kendricks.

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Melissa Stockwell: From wounded soldier to Paralympian

Paratriathlete Melissa Stockwell poses for a portrait at the USOC Rio Olympics Shoot (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Paratriathlete Melissa Stockwell poses for a portrait at the USOC Rio Olympics Shoot (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
2015 Getty Images

When I got in the water for the first time after losing my leg…

it almost made me feel whole again.

In April 2004, Melissa Stockwell became the first U.S. woman to lose a limb in active combat when an IED exploded during her daily convoy in Baghdad, Iraq. She has since gone on to become a two-time Paralympian, culminating in a bronze medal in Paratriathlon at Rio 2016.

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'Rising Phoenix' shows a different side of Matt Stutzman

Paralympic Archer Matt Stutzman trains during a session on 14 July 2020 in Fairfield, Iowa.
Paralympic Archer Matt Stutzman trains during a session on 14 July 2020 in Fairfield, Iowa.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

I quickly got that mindset that I wasn’t going to worry about what other people thought of me.

People are always going to stare. People still stare to this day.

When filming for the recently release 'Rising Phoenix' documentary, US archer Matt Stutzman not only spoke about being born without arms and being adopted at four months old but also his London 2012 silver medal and love for cars.

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