Sport Olympics-Athletics-'Whatever it takes': Americans adapting to unorthodox Games

10:20  22 july  2021
10:20  22 july  2021 Source:   reuters.com

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Empty stands and a year-long wait for the Tokyo Games have done little to dampen enthusiasm among America's top track and field athletes, who told reporters on Thursday they were adapting to the challenges of competing amid the pandemic.

Clayton Murphy jumping in the air: Athletics - World Cup London 2018 © Reuters/MATTHEW CHILDS Athletics - World Cup London 2018

"Whatever it takes, they're going to throw at us, (I'm) just excited to be able to compete again and just follow what... they think is best for us," said Clayton Murphy, who picked up bronze in the men's 800 metres at the Rio Games, the first time the United States medalled in the event since 1992.

The 26-year-old middle distance runner is among those who have yet to travel to Japan, after USA Track & Field cancelled a planned Tokyo training camp in May over health and safety concerns.

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When they arrive, the fanfare and cheering crowds they enjoyed at the team trials in Eugene, Oregon, will be a distant memory, after organisers banned spectators from venues amid public opposition in Japan to holding the Games.

"You kind of got to draw on yourself, your competitors, your competition spirit, and kind of find that little drive in other ways," said Murphy.

U.S. First Lady Jill Biden will lead the U.S. diplomatic delegation to the Olympics, leaving Washington, D.C., on Wednesday as a show of support for Japan, a critical ally.

"To have the support of the first lady of the United States of America is huge," said Will Claye, a three-time Olympic medallist competing in the triple jump in Tokyo.

"(It) says a lot about, you know, the people that are running our country."

(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

Softball needs the Olympics. And it needs baseball to care .
Asked to imagine her future in fourth grade, Aubree Munro drew herself in a Team USA softball jersey. It was 2004, and that summer, she begged her mom to wake her in the middle of the night when the Olympic softball games were played in Greece. Ten years old, she struggled to stay up for the whole game, but she got to see the first few innings of Team USA’s gold medal run. Growing up, Janie Reed would practice signing her autograph with “USA” right after it. She aspired to join the ranks of Olympic softball players like Stacey Nuveman, Jennie Finch, and the rest of the 2008 team that took home silver from Beijing.

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