Gunning for the gold! The Tokyo Olympics faced delays amid the coronavirus pandemic, but Team USA athletes are ready to take home big wins this summer.
The summer Olympic games were originally set to kick off in Japan in July 2020, but organizers were forced to reschedule as the COVID-19 crisis continued to spread around the globe. Now, the international sports event is slated to begin on July 23, 2021, with hundreds of hopeful athletes competing for gold medal glory.
Simone Biles, who previously stunned audiences at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil, opened up about the unconventional 2021 games during a candid interview with the Today show.
“We are in a pandemic, so we’re kind of ready for whatever life throws us at this point,” the 23-year-old gymnast said on Friday, January 22, amid rumors that the Tokyo Olympics would be canceled completely. “We’re training as if, and whatever happens, happens. We have to do what’s safe for the rest of the world, for ourselves to make sure everyone’s healthy, but hopefully the Olympics can still be put on, even if it means we’re in a bubble.”
Biles admitted that she would “basically do anything” to be able to compete on the world stage once again after her impressive victories in Brazil four years ago. “Whatever they say they want us to do, I’m in 100%, because I’ve been training so hard, and I’ve just been so ready,” she said on Friday.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) shut down rumors that the Japanese government was refusing to host the sports showcase, affirming in a statement on Friday that the Olympics were still in sight.
“Together with its Japanese partners and friends, the IOC is fully concentrated on and committed to the successful delivery of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 this year,” the statement read, acknowledging that “all possible countermeasures against COVID-19” would be taken into account to keep athletes and fans safe.
Along with fan-favorites such as swimming, gymnastics and beach volleyball, the Tokyo Olympics will introduce a handful of new events. Karate, sport climbing, surfing and skateboarding will make their Olympic debuts, and baseball and softball will be played in the Olympics for the first time since 2008.
To learn more about all the Olympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics this summer on NBC.
Scroll down to meet some of the Olympic hopefuls competing for Team USA this summer!