The Road to Tokyo: A week in quotes

(L-R) Mai Murakami, Hitomi Hatakeda, Yuna Hiraiwa and Aiko Sugihara pose for photographs after selected as members of the Team Japan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games at the Artistic Gymnastics NHK Trophy (Photo by Toru Hanai/Getty Images)
(L-R) Mai Murakami, Hitomi Hatakeda, Yuna Hiraiwa and Aiko Sugihara pose for photographs after selected as members of the Team Japan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games at the Artistic Gymnastics NHK Trophy (Photo by Toru Hanai/Getty Images)

Athletes around the world have been busily preparing themselves with less than 70 days until the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2021. Tokyo 2020 has been speaking to several athletes whose journey to the Olympic and Paralympic Games is gathering pace.

This week also saw a significant milestone for the Paralympic Games!

MURAKAMI Mai lifts NHK Trophy to punch ticket to second Games

NAGANO, JAPAN - MAY 15: Mai Murakami competes on the Floor on day one of the Artistic Gymnastics NHK Trophy at the Big Hat on May 15, 2021 in Nagano, Japan. (Photo by Toru Hanai/Getty Images)
NAGANO, JAPAN - MAY 15: Mai Murakami competes on the Floor on day one of the Artistic Gymnastics NHK Trophy at the Big Hat on May 15, 2021 in Nagano, Japan. (Photo by Toru Hanai/Getty Images)
2021 Getty Images

The last three years have felt really long, with corona, the injury and everything else.

But through it all, I've been able to rekindle my love for gymnastics and feel like I've become a better competitor, a better person.

MURAKAMI Mai is all set for her second Olympic Games this summer as the undisputed queen of Japanese gymnastics won her third NHK Trophy championship. She has missed the 2019 competition with a lower-back injury while the event last year was cancelled due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Read more

100 days to go! Paralympic symbol unveiled as Tokyo 2020 marks key milestone

Now that we are facing the [COVID-19] pandemic, it's a time that we will be moved by the act and performances of athletes who overcome their limits.

I believe that it will bring hope and courage to the world.

On Sunday, Tokyo 2020 celebrated 100 days until the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games with the unveiling of Paralympic symbol at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG).

Read more

Zahra Nemati: The arrow of success

Zahra Nemati of IR Iran during the Women's Recurve team finals at the Shanghai 2019  Archery World Cup Stage 2 (Photo by Dean Alberga/World Archery Federation via Getty Images)
Zahra Nemati of IR Iran during the Women's Recurve team finals at the Shanghai 2019 Archery World Cup Stage 2 (Photo by Dean Alberga/World Archery Federation via Getty Images)
2019 World Archery Federation

Life has messages for us and archery has one too.

One of crucial messages of archery is once you shoot the arrow [and aim for] the gold, you cannot think about [it anymore] - it is [considered part of] the past [and that’s why] we cannot think about it again.

Zahra Nemati has been a force to reckon with ever since her Paralympic debut. As the first ever woman from the Islamic Republic of Iran to win either an Olympic and Paralympic gold medal, she has only continued to make history by gracing both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. However, the para archery athlete is more than just her athletic achievements.

Read more

Mariah Duran: Albuquerque’s rocky roads to Olympian heights

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - SEPTEMBER 22: Mariah Duran of the United Satates competes during the finals of the WS/SLS 2019 World Championship at Parque Anhembi on September 22, 2019 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - SEPTEMBER 22: Mariah Duran of the United Satates competes during the finals of the WS/SLS 2019 World Championship at Parque Anhembi on September 22, 2019 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)
2019 Getty Images

In skateboarding, you have to step out of your comfort zone all the time.

There’s a point where you have to let go of your fear and just trust.

Mariah Duran - USA's 2021 national champion female street skateboarder - talked to Tokyo 2020 ahead of a return to big-time competition at the Summer Dew Tour. Among the topics for discussion: How she ditched the more traditional sports in her hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico and found her own unique road to the Olympics with a little help from her family and friends.

Read more

Priscilla Gagné: The impossible is possible

Priscilla Gagné is classified as a B1 athlete
Priscilla Gagné is classified as a B1 athlete
Canadian Paralympic Committee

It's my eyes that are broken, not my legs. And I was just out to prove them wrong and bent on finding something that I could do just as well as an able-bodied person

Born with a genetic eye disorder called retinis pigmentosa that affects the central vision, Priscilla Gagné has defied all odds to be where she is now. From dabbling in kenpo karate, goalball and other sorts of sports, she found her place in para judo and became a Paralympian when she took part in the Rio 2016 Games and a few years later, an IBSA World Champion after clinching bronze in 2018 - the first Canadian female medallist to do so.

This year, as she returns to the mat at Tokyo 2020, Gagné aims to redeem herself from Rio 2016 and finally land that Paralympic glory she's seeking all these years.

Read more