As Tokyo, Japan gets ready to host the Olympics this summer, a Darke County native is preparing to make the U.S. track and field team.
In June, Clayton Murphy will compete in the 800 meter race.
“I feel ready,” Murphy said.
The pandemic gave him an extra year to practice, after Japan and the International Olympic Committee postponed the 2020 Olympics until 2021.
“I kind of used that time to focus on different things in my training,” Murphy said. “I think it really made me better as an athlete going into this year, and that was my build up toward the qualifier.”
Murphy won a bronze medal in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
He knows this year’s event will be different.
“There’s the little things,” Murphy said. “We were able to hang out after the races around the village and meet people from other countries and explore Rio and do different things like that.”
He is fully vaccinated, and is confident the Olympics will be as safe as possible.
“I feel safe and feel confident that they can pull it off. It’s just a matter of obviously some little things that are out of their control,” Murphy said.
He and all other foreign athletes will have to compete without their families and support systems, after Japan decided to ban international spectators.
“It will be interesting for sure, but I think the luster of the competition is still going to be there,” Murphy said.