The Road to Tokyo: A week in quotes

Melissa Humana-Paredes celebrates a point during the 2018 Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games..  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Melissa Humana-Paredes celebrates a point during the 2018 Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Athletes around the world have been busily preparing themselves with just eight months 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.

Melissa Humana-Paredes: Gearing up for an Olympic gold medal performance

Humana-Paredes has been voted FIVB Defender of the Year in 2018 and 2019.
Humana-Paredes has been voted FIVB Defender of the Year in 2018 and 2019.
2018 Philip Whitcombe

I think from a young age, I knew I wanted to go to the Olympics. I wanted to be there. I wanted to become an Olympian.

Melissa Humana-Paredes and her partner Sarah Pavan are bound for Tokyo 2020 to compete in beach volleyball - one of the most anticipated events in the Olympic Games. After spending most of 2020 in hiatus, the beach volleyball duo are back training - hoping to give an all out-performance that will land them their first gold medal in their Olympic debut.

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Sara Hall: Part of the fun is the pursuit

Sara Hall of USA sprints to cross the finish line in second place ahead of Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya in the Elite Women's Field during the 2020 London Marathon (Photo by Richard Heathcote / Getty Images)
Sara Hall of USA sprints to cross the finish line in second place ahead of Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya in the Elite Women's Field during the 2020 London Marathon (Photo by Richard Heathcote / Getty Images)
2020 Getty Images

That's the biggest take away I'll take from running, that resilience you build in yourself of being able to pull yourself back up and hope again, dream again.

After dropping out of the Olympic Trials for the USA marathon team, Sara Hall wasn't letting the disappointment get to her and finished the year by running the second-fastest marathon ever by an American woman. Her sights are now set on becoming an Olympian for the time and on the track no less.

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Canada’s Nathan Riech following in family’s footsteps

Nathan Riech wins the men's 1,500m T38 at Dubai 2019
Nathan Riech wins the men's 1,500m T38 at Dubai 2019
© Luc Percival

It’s a small failure if you don’t reach the pinnacle.

It’s a huge failure if you don’t try.

After shattering two world records and wining the 1,500m at the 2019 World Championship, Canada's Nathan Riech is a gold medal favourite at the upcoming Paralympic Games. With a bloodline of athletes within his family, could he have what it takes to take the gold medal at Tokyo 2020?

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Vincent Luis: "We need to know which horse to bet on"

French triathlete Vincent Luis crossing the finish line of the 2020 Triathlon World Championships, where he won his second title in a row.
French triathlete Vincent Luis crossing the finish line of the 2020 Triathlon World Championships, where he won his second title in a row.
© Tommy Zaferes ITU Media

I feel less pressure than before... I competed at the Games twice already and I realised that it's a race like the other ones.

France's Vincent Luis is a favourite for the men's individual triathlon gold medal at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. His rise to being world No.1 hasn't be without is difficulties - even contemplating giving up the sport. Now with two world championship titles under is belt, he's ready more than ever for his third Olympic Games.

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Aaron Heading: Back in form ahead of Tokyo 2020

Aaron Heading competes during the Mixed Team Shotgun Trap Qualifications event at the 2019 European Games (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Aaron Heading competes during the Mixed Team Shotgun Trap Qualifications event at the 2019 European Games (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
2019 Getty Images

It has been an incredible journey and it’s still not over.

It has been a rollercoaster to get to this point and I am so happy that it is something off my list.

After almost losing his leg and spending two months in a wheelchair, which saw him miss out on qualifying for the Rio 2016 Games, Aaron Heading is set to make his Olympic debut. This week he was one of the first four shooters named by Team GB in their Tokyo 2020 squad.

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KAWAMOTO Shota pedals beyond limits in pursuit of Paralympic glory

Track cyclists can go as fast as 50 to 60km/h
Track cyclists can go as fast as 50 to 60km/h
(c) JPCF

When I rode a bicycle for the first time in my life, I fell, but my parents let me keep riding.

If they hadn’t, I wouldn’t be where I am now, so I’m truly grateful to them.

Kawamoto isn't one to ever give up when the going gets tough. From baseball to Para cycling, he gives 100 per cent to be the best he can which even led him to competing at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games just eight months after taking up track cycling. Now with Tokyo 2020 around the corner, the world no 4 is hoping to win gold for everyone who has supported him.

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Tony Gustavsson: Always looking at possibilities

Tony Gustavsson prepares for his interview during the Australia Head Coach Announcement (Photo by Barrington Coombs/Getty Images for FFA)
Tony Gustavsson prepares for his interview during the Australia Head Coach Announcement (Photo by Barrington Coombs/Getty Images for FFA)
2020 Getty Images

It's not the strongest that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives, it's the ones that are most adaptable to change.

His tenure as the head coach of Australia's women's football team begun this month, Tony Gustavsson got stuck into business with just six months to prepare the squad. In an ever changing world, the former United States assistant coach is hoping to give the Matildas the best chance possible despite travel restrictions.

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