The Road to Tokyo: A week in quotes

Japanese athlete UCHIMURA Kohei on the pommel horse
Japanese athlete UCHIMURA Kohei on the pommel horse

Athletes around the world have been busily preparing themselves with less than a year to go until the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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

Fans and gymnasts gather for Friendship and Solidarity meet in Tokyo

Teams lined up at the opening ceremony of the Friendly and Solidarity meet last Sunday 8 November.
Teams lined up at the opening ceremony of the Friendly and Solidarity meet last Sunday 8 November.
©AFLO SPORT

The question we should be asking ourselves is not whether we can hold the Games or not - but how, and all of us need to put our heads together to make sure that it does go ahead.

I want people to start thinking differently. - UCHIMURA Kohei

The first international sporting competition has taken place in Japan since March. Thirty gymnasts from the United States, Russian Federation, People's Republic of China and hosts Japan took part in the Friendship and Solidarity meet to showcase international camaraderie.

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Mathilde Gros: How track cycling got under her skin

Mathilde Gros of France celebrates winning in the second race of the bronze final of the Women's Sprint during the track cycling at the 2018 European Championships Glasgow.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Mathilde Gros of France celebrates winning in the second race of the bronze final of the Women's Sprint during the track cycling at the 2018 European Championships Glasgow. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
2018 Getty Images

My goal was to compete in the Olympics and to win.

So I took the path of elite sport in track cycling.

Mathilde Gros was passionate about basketball before she stumbled upon the sport of track cycling. Years on from first taking up the sport in 2015, Gros has become a European champion. Now she can't wait to compete at Tokyo 2020 and equally in a country she had made great ties and friendships.

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Fleur Jong: 'I have to be good at the Games because that's where it counts'


Fleur Jong of the Netherlands competes in the Women's 200m - T44 Heat at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Photo by Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images)
Fleur Jong of the Netherlands competes in the Women's 200m - T44 Heat at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Photo by Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images)
2016 Getty Images

No matter what you've been through, no matter where you are, no matter where you come from, this is the time where you're going to prove that you are the fastest or when you're going to be the furthest jumper.

Dutch sprinter Fleur Jong is now eyeing the long jump event in her bid to represent Netherlands at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. She spoke to Tokyo 2020 about why she has made the decision to switch to long jump and how she is looking forward to stepping unto that Paralympic track to set it alight at the Games next year.

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Georgia Taylor-Brown: The melee of madness

Georgia Taylor-Brown of Great Britain in action during the World Triathlon Leeds on 8 June 2019 in Leeds, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
Georgia Taylor-Brown of Great Britain in action during the World Triathlon Leeds on 8 June 2019 in Leeds, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
2019 Getty Images

I'm trying to up my speed so I can get closer to that first buoy quicker than everyone else,

so I'm not part of that melee of madness.

Great Britain's triathlon world champion Georgia Taylor-Brown has had a rollercoaster ride to the top of her sport. Tokyo 2020 talked to her about frantic races to the first buoy, injury setbacks and her fantastic end to a year fraught with disruption.

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KURASHIMA Yosuke: 'The key will be the doubles event' 

Head coach KURASHIMA Yosuke leads the Japanese men’s table tennis national team.
Head coach KURASHIMA Yosuke leads the Japanese men’s table tennis national team.
(c)ITTF

A medal, even a gold, is within our reach.

The key lies in whether we can start off by gaining a gold medal in the mixed doubles to give the team an impetus in the remaining events.

At the helm of Japan's men's national table tennis team is head coach KURASHIMA Yosuke, who is looking to start the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is a positive way as he eyes a doubles win. Kurashima spoke with Tokyo 2020 about returning to international competition, Japan's brightest male table tennis talents and how he plans to help the host nation win medals.

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How tenacity pushed race walker SUZUKI Yusuke to break a world record

Photo provided by Fujitsu Limited
Photo provided by Fujitsu Limited

If I clinch a medal, I will be awarded at the Olympic Stadium, so I’m going to train hard to reach the podium.

This will be my way of expressing my appreciation to all the people who have supported me during my difficult times.

Japan has just one world record holder in an Olympic event: SUZUKI Yusuke. The race walker climbed to the top of his sport, smashing the 20km men's world record in 2015 and despite struggles with injuries in recent years, he hasn't given up the fight to keep racing. Suzuki, who has already qualified, is now eyeing the 50km race walk at Tokyo 2020.

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Mayuko Fujiki: The unity we will feel at Tokyo 2020 is something only sport can bring

Mayuko Fujiki (C) with some members of Spain's artistic swimming national team during the athletes parade in an opening ceremony.
Mayuko Fujiki (C) with some members of Spain's artistic swimming national team during the athletes parade in an opening ceremony.
Courtesy of Mayuko Fujiki

When all of us from all over the world get together in Tokyo, that's the answer.

Because in that moment, it's more than the country you wear on your t-shirt, it's that everybody has had a common difficulty to get there

A former member of Japan's artistic swimming team which won bronze at Atlanta 1996, Mayuko Fujiki has gone on to coaching the likes of Spain, USA and People's Republic of China. Now back coaching Spain's national team, she speaks to Tokyo 2020 about her experiences, her hopes for Spain next year and what the Olympic Games will mean to her.

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