Hampton Roads native looking toward Tokyo Olympics; focusing on mental game during pandemic

Japan 2020

(WAVY) — As 2020 winds down and 2021 approaches, athletes are preparing for their shot to compete in Tokyo.

It hasn’t been an easy journey for most, with years of grueling training and many sacrifices made along the way. But this year brought a whole new set of challenges.

Grant Holloway is used to hurdles. He’s an eight-time NCAA champion, winner of the Bowerman Award for track athletes, world champion in the 110-meter hurdles and more. But even he was discouraged by the trials of 2020.

“I didn’t have no motivation, it’s like what am I running for? Am I really running to brag that I have the fastest time during coronavirus?” said Holloway during a Zoom conversation. The native of Chesapeake, Virginia, is currently training in Florida.

The track star adjusted, reading a book every month, and focusing on what he can control.

“If I’m able to practice, if I’m able to be in the weight room, if I’m able to do anything, it’s in my control so lets do it,” Holloway said.

Something that’s also in his control is his mental game.

“The biggest this quarantine, this break has taught me is that the mental game plays such a huge role in everything,” Holloway said.

He has also competed this year, doing well at meets in Budapest and Monaco. He feels great and is ready for an indoor season, although it is a season that is a little uncertain.

“It’s just so many different variables that we don’t know so it’s kind of just like … OK let’s get ready so we don’t have to get ready when the time, when February comes,” said Holloway. “So it’s a stay ready, so we don’t have to get ready type of thing.”

Now that we’re closer to 2021, he’s ready for the work that’s to come with a clear picture of what the Olympic Games look like for him.

“The end goal, of course, is to be able to stand on the podium again, listen to the National Anthem, hearing everybody sing it, having the flag behind my back,” Holloway said.

Holloway is confident that no matter the hurdle, he will clear it.

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