Team USA Swimmers Reveal What They're Looking Forward to Most About Visiting Japan for Olympics
Three members of Team USA swimming spoke to PEOPLE about their excitement for the Tokyo Games, which is just 100 days away
With just 100 days to go until the Summer Olympics, athletes from around the world are continuing to train as they get ready for their long-awaited journey to Tokyo, Japan.
Ryan Murphy, Haley Anderson and Lilly King, pivotal members of Team USA swimming, are just three of the many athletes anxiously awaiting this summer's Olympic Games, which were delayed an entire year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The trio, who collectively have earned one silver medal and five gold medals from past Olympic events, spoke to PEOPLE during last week's Team USA Tokyo Olympics media summit about what they're looking forward to most about their journey overseas.
"I don't think we're going to interact too much with the Japanese people, but I have always enjoyed Japanese culture and kind of an extension is the food," says 25-year-old Murphy, noting the coronavirus restrictions for athletes and other Games attendees.
"I say all the time: If I had to pick one type of cuisine from all over the world that I could eat every day — Japanese food," Murphy, who has three Olympic gold medals under his belt, adds.
Meanwhile, Anderson, who won the silver medal during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, is looking forward to exploring Tokyo and engaging with both her teammates and competitors while adhering to COVID-19 safety rules.
"I think this time I'm just going to enjoy exploring the village as much as we can and just enjoying being around other athletes from our country and just whoever else we can meet," the 29-year-old swimmer tells PEOPLE.
"Kind of the same thing," adds King, a two-time gold medalist. "I'm excited to be able to see the village as a veteran and not as a rookie."
"2015 was like my first national team and I just didn't really know what was going on," the 24-year-old athlete recalls. "I was just kind of overwhelmed with all of it. I'm excited to hang out in the village and see everything and get to experience the Games as more of a professional."
For the upcoming Games, numerous health and safety protocols will be implemented due to the pandemic. Most notably, overseas spectators will not be allowed entry.
"We share the disappointment of all enthusiastic Olympic fans from around the world, and of course the families and friends of the athletes, who were planning to come to the Games," IOC President Thomas Bach said last month in a release. "For this I am truly sorry. We know that this is a great sacrifice for everybody. We have said from the very beginning of this pandemic that it will require sacrifices."
The Tokyo Olympics, postponed from last summer due to the ongoing pandemic, are currently scheduled to take place from July 23 through Aug. 8, 2021. Meanwhile, the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing are slated to take place next February.
To learn more about all the Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer on NBC.
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