Former Oregon Duck Jenna Prandini is heading to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to participate in the 100 and 200-meter track and field events for the United States.
Tokyo will be her second Olympics, after participating in 2016 in Rio. There she competed in the 200 meters and finished 10th.
Receiving a second opportunity to compete for her country isn’t something Prandini plans on taking for granted.
She appeared on Talkin’ Ducks to discuss her first experience in 2016 and what it's like now.
“I think it will help me a lot,” Prandini said on her first Olympic experience. “Obviously I was really excited to be there and honored to represent the United States. I didn’t perform how I wanted to. I walked away already thinking about what I wanted to do for this next Olympics. I had spent an extra year waiting for it to get here and now the time is finally back and I’m excited to get back there on the track and perform and be there again and have another opportunity to compete.”
Prandini was optimistic the extra year of training will pay dividends for performance this time around. Especially knowing what’s at stake and having had five years to think about ways to improve.
The Olympics is a stage many athletes dream of. It’s an opportunity to represent their country and compete for the honor to be recognized as the best in their respective sport compared to other nations.
For the 29-year-old Prandini, she’s able to do that and did so qualifying at home at her former college.
“It means the world to get on the Olympic team,” she said. “I grew up dreaming about this and worked so hard to get to the place I’m at now. To be able to go out and qualify was really incredible. To do it at Hayward Field was really special in front of my family and friends.”
Confidence is one thing an athlete needs to be successful. If they're not right mentally, then there’s a shift to not be in their favor.
A very recent example is Simone Biles, who withdrew from the U.S. gymnastics team finals, citing her mental health.
“I think I have everything I need to medal,” Prandini said. “It’s just a matter of me going out there and executing what I do in practice. I’m really excited about that and confident.”