Chain of hope: How Olympians are Stronger Together

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 07:  Players of Portugal holding their hands at  their national anthem for the Men's Group D first round match between Honduras and Portugal during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 7, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 07: Players of Portugal holding their hands at their national anthem for the Men's Group D first round match between Honduras and Portugal during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 7, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

During a year when the Games were postponed, the athletes who will compete at Tokyo 2020 have been faced with similar difficulties: training at home, unable to gather with their teammates, the list goes on. But even in the face of those challenges, the Olympic spirit is stronger than ever and athletes are willing each other on to succeed at the Games.

Imagine a chain. Not a material one but a chain of hope.

Athletes can now see the light at the end of a long tunnel, just days before the Opening Ceremony. They are arriving in Tokyo, ready to fulfil their dreams. 

The year 2020 was full of challenges. Competitions were cancelled, athletes were separated from their loved ones, for the first time in history the Olympic Games were postponed. 

It wasn’t easy, yet they have overcome the adversity to be united in ways never seen before. More than ever, Olympians stand a symbol of hope. 

Beyond rivalries, the Olympic spirit is stronger than ever, and the athletes who will take part in the Games are stronger together. 

Tokyo 2020 have compiled messages of hope that athletes have shared with each other, before the Olympics begin on 23 July.

Luis Scola, Basketball, Argentina

I’d send them a very big message of encouragement so that they can compete in the best possible way.

And for those who are at their first Olympic Games, you should enjoy them a lot because they may be the last, and the truth is that it is an incredible experience and it is worth it. Enjoy it to the fullest.

Ona Carbonell, Artistic Swimming, Spain

Cheers, girls and boys! The moment has come: we are finally at the Olympic Games. And now is the time to enjoy, to forget the nerves and to live every second as if it were unique... because it is.

Because we have fought a lot to arrive here. I just want all of you to know that the Spanish artistic swimming team cheer and support you a lot, and just enjoy it!

Laura Gallagher, Artistic gymnastics, Great Britain

Enjoy the experience, show all the hard work and make the most of the amazing opportunity we have to compete on the biggest stage

Jessica Fox, Canoe, Australia

It’s finally happening! We’ve worked so hard for this, it’s been challenging for everyone so let’s enjoy it.

Make the most of it, stay safe and and I can’t wait to see you in Tokyo!

Sebas, Diego and Pablo Simonet, Handball, Argentina

Despite this difficult one-and-a-half years, we want to send you strength. We all reached the Olympics, and that means that we have made an incredible effort - it will surely be worth it.

My desire for all the athletes is effort, sacrifice and a lot of medals. Good luck to all of you and have lot of success at this Olympic Games.

Charlotte Worthington, BMX Freestyle, Great Britain

Lets go show them what we’ve worked and sacrificed so hard for!

Diego Lainez, Football, Mexico

It is going to be an unforgettable experience. There’s no doubt. Especially after all we have gone through, all the uncertainties we have had.

Taking part in the Olympics is now closer to all of us, so we have to enjoy it. This is a gift that our sports are giving us because we deserve it. So now we have to enjoy them and give our best for our countries.

Eilish McColgan, Athletics, Great Britain

And if there was one message that I could send out to other athletes who will be joining me in Tokyo, it’s certainly to just embrace the moment. It has been a year postponed, it has been a longer wait than usual in preparation for these Olympic Games.

So make the most of your opportunity when you line up for that competition, know that your whole nation is behind you. It is the pinnacle of sport, so use up all of that excitement and have a great performance.

READ MORE: Why athletes think the Tokyo 2020 Games will be (even more) special