The road to Tokyo 2020: A week in quotes

Jonas Maciulis of Lithuania moves the ball past Alex Garcia of Brazil at Rio 2016  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Jonas Maciulis of Lithuania moves the ball past Alex Garcia of Brazil at Rio 2016 (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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.

Ruben Limardo: 'Now I understand the value of winning the London 2012 gold medal'

Ruben Limardo of Venezuela celebrates victory in the Men's Epee Individual Fencing Semi-final against Seth Kelsey of the United States at the London 2012 Olympic Games (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Ruben Limardo of Venezuela celebrates victory in the Men's Epee Individual Fencing Semi-final against Seth Kelsey of the United States at the London 2012 Olympic Games (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
2012 Getty Images

At school, other children made fun of me because they thought fencing was boring.

But my family taught me to do whatever makes me happy. And fencing was that ‘whatever’.

Ruben Limardo is one of only two Venezuelan athletes to have one an Olympic gold medal in the history of the Games. Now he is aiming for gold once again at Tokyo 2020 - but this time he's hoping to fight alongside his brothers.

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Charlotte Worthington: Recipe for success 

Charlotte Worthington (BMX Freestyle) of Team GB rides a half pipe during the Team GB British Olympic Association Tokyo 2020 One Year To Go Media Event on July 24, 2019 in Manchester, England (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Charlotte Worthington (BMX Freestyle) of Team GB rides a half pipe during the Team GB British Olympic Association Tokyo 2020 One Year To Go Media Event on July 24, 2019 in Manchester, England (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
2019 Getty Images

You don’t realise what a difference it makes, for girls especially, to be able to see that I could do this and then get to the Olympics.

That it is possible, it’s not just for the ultimate elite human beings on the planet.

Charlotte Worthington only took up BMX freestyle four years ago at the age of 20. Now, after a meteoric rise to the top of her sport, the British and European Champion has her sights set on winning gold next year in Tokyo.

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ZHU Zhenzhen dreams of developing wheelchair tennis in China

Zhu Zhenzhen of People's Republic of China during the women's wheelchair tennis singles quarter-final against Aniek van Koot of Netherland at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. (Photo by Lucas Uebel/Getty Images)
Zhu Zhenzhen of People's Republic of China during the women's wheelchair tennis singles quarter-final against Aniek van Koot of Netherland at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. (Photo by Lucas Uebel/Getty Images)
2016 Getty Images

I love being an athlete and having the responsibility to make it possible for everyone to play the sport.

I love embodying the Paralympic spirit of understanding, friendship, solidarity and fair play and transmitting these values in my everyday life.

At this year's Australian Open, ZHU ZhenZhen became the first Chinese wheelchair tennis player to compete at a Grand Slam. And with her only list achievements, she is hoping that her efforts will lead the way for the future of wheelchair tennis in her home nation.

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Alhambra Nievas: ‘I always dreamt to be in the Olympics’

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 08: Team Australia celebrates winning the Gold medal after the Women's Gold Medal Rugby Sevens match between Australia and New Zealand on Day 3 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Deodoro Stadium on August 8, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 08: Team Australia celebrates winning the Gold medal after the Women's Gold Medal Rugby Sevens match between Australia and New Zealand on Day 3 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Deodoro Stadium on August 8, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
David Rogers/Getty Images

I always dreamt to be in the Olympics. It was amazing. To referee the final was a big honour.

When the Olympic final started, my birthday just started in Spain. It was the best birthday present ever.

Alhambra Nievas is a former international player and rugby referee. Having established a glowing reputation, the 37-year-old reached the pinnacle of her career by officiating the Australia v New Zealand Rugby Sevens final at Rio 2016, and is now helping others achieve their dream at Tokyo 2020.

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Buchanan is fighting back to be an Olympian again

Caroline Buchanan of Australia competes in the Cycling - BMX Women's Seeding Run at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Caroline Buchanan of Australia competes in the Cycling - BMX Women's Seeding Run at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
2016 Getty Images

My hardest challenge yet has been to come back for this Olympic Games and be back ready against the best in the world

It was New Years Eve 2017, Australian BMX racer Caroline Buchanan was involved in a serious accident which resulted in a broken nose, broken sternum, two collapsed lungs, dangerous bleeding around her heart. However, two and a half years on, the two-time Olympian is determined to bounce back and be an Olympian once again.

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Aruba’s lone Para athlete Elliott Loonstra aims for spot in Tokyo 2020

Elliott Loonstra (right) is Aruba's highest hopes of representation at Tokyo 2020
Elliott Loonstra (right) is Aruba's highest hopes of representation at Tokyo 2020
Alexandre Battibugli/Agitos Foundation

When people ask me ‘What do you do?’ I tell them ‘I kick people’. Immediately they look at me and are like ‘What?’ And I say ‘No no no. I’m an athlete’.

The small Caribbean island of Aruba could be sending its second ever athlete to a Paralympic Games. From holding training sessions on a beach before tourists would take over to taking part at the Lima 2019 Parapan American Games, Elliott Loonstra is making his mark on the Paralympic movement in Aruba.

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Fourth time could be the charm for Maciulis

Jonas Maciulis of Lithuania drives the ball during the 2019 FIBA World Cup, first round match against Canada (Photo by Zhizhao Wu/Getty Images)
Jonas Maciulis of Lithuania drives the ball during the 2019 FIBA World Cup, first round match against Canada (Photo by Zhizhao Wu/Getty Images)
2019 Getty Images

I have a medal from the World Cup, I have three medals from EuroBasket, and this would be my dream [to win an Olympic medal].

I would be probably the happiest guy in Lithuania.

He's the most decorated active basketball player from Lithuania who has won medals in both the World Cup and EuroBasket competitions. But there's one thing missing from Maciulis's collection that is driving him onwards - an Olympic medal.

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