Good things come to those who wait. After a one-year delay, the countdown to the Tokyo Olympics has officially begun as Wednesday marks 100 days to go until the opening ceremony.
"It’s exciting. You know, I think the Olympics were postponed last year prior to the 100-day mark so we never got to that mark, so it’s kind of like every day this year now is exciting and we’re getting closer and closer," said Team USA swimmer Katie Ledecky.
Olympians like Ledecky and water polo goalie and Miami native Ashleigh Johnson say they are revving up as the momentum is building.
“I’m really excited to compete in Tokyo, we’ve been training hard for the past few... years it feels like...and we’re just ready to go and fired up," Johnson said.
The hype is real as the International Olympic Committee added new sports to the program this year, including karate, skateboarding, surfing, sports climbing and the return of baseball and softball.
The COVID-19 crisis will make the Olympics look quite different in 2021, but their essence remains the same. International tourists are banned from visiting Japan during the games as a safety precaution.
“It will be different, but I think overall, just because we’ve been in this environment with Covid for the past year, that we’ll be ready when the day comes," said Taekwondo star and Miami resident Paige McPherson.
With fewer in-person competitions at the height of the pandemic, some athletes also had to get creative training at home while overcoming other hurdles.
“Another year, you know, it was really challenging but I tried to do my best to be able to take that time to my advantage and just get stronger and better and to continue forward," said track & field athlete Allyson Felix.
Some members of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team tried to embrace the altered plans.
"This was a nice silver lining of Covid and the pandemic just to have a year to rest," said forward Megan Rapinoe.
The team had just come off their World Cup win in 2019, so they took advantage of an extra year of training as they try to go back to back with their goal of winning an Olympic gold medal next.
“All of us are hungry to get back out there and really show what this team is all about and compete at the highest stage and hopefully bring home a gold medal," said defender Crystal Dunn.
These athletes are itching to compete again in a unique Olympics that will make history.
At the end of the day, it is the Olympic Games and this is a unique time because this is a moment in human history that will be remembered throughout generations," said McPherson.