2020 Olympics

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Rui Hachimura 'sad' Olympics were delayed, hopes to still play in Tokyo next year

Rui Hachimura 'sad' Olympics were delayed, hopes to still play in Tokyo next year

Though he understands the reasons why, Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura can't help but be disappointed in the postponement of the 2020 Olympics, which were set to take place in Tokyo, Japan later this month.

Hachimura figured to play a prominent role for the host country, as one of Japan's most famous athletes and the best player on their basketball team. The plan is to play the games in 2021, still in Tokyo, and Hachimura hopes that remains the case despite continued uncertainty for all sporting events amid the coronavirus outbreak.

"I'm honestly so sad about it. We can't do anything about it," he said on Friday. "Of course, I would like to play in the Olympics. Next year, we'll see how things go."

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Hachimura had participated in some lead-up press events for the 2020 Olympics representing his country in the months before coronavirus hit. But, really, he had been looking forward to the 2020 Olympics for many years.

Hachimura has already made history as the first Japanese-born player to get selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. The Olympics this year were supposed to be another major step forward for the sport of basketball in Japan.

"Japan Olympics was one of my dreams to do. It was big to me. Ever since I started in basketball, they talked about the Olympics in 2020. Then, this happened," he said.

Hachimura should be able to still participate next year as long as the schedule works out. As of now, the NBA is aiming to begin the 2020-21 season in December. That would put them on track to end in time for Hachimura and other players to play in Tokyo.

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Katie Ledecky's Olympic training has drastically changed while social distancing

Katie Ledecky's Olympic training has drastically changed while social distancing

Just about every league and pro sporting event across the globe was negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was not an exception. 

The International Olympic Committee decided to postpone Olympics until 2021, bringing a halt to every athlete's plan to compete at the highest level in their respective sport. 

Washington D.C. native and USA swimming superstar Katie Ledecky was expected to dominate the summer games in the pool. With the 1,500 meter freestyle added to the docket of swimming events in Tokyo, Ledecky had the chance to complete her patented "Ledecky Slam," winning the 200, 400, 800 and 1,500-meter freestyles, on the biggest stage of them all. 

Not only does she have to wait a year to accomplish that goal, but social distancing guidelines have also drastically changed her normal training process.

"I haven't had access to normal facilities, I'm not able to train in the weight room with my trainer and my teammates," Ledecky told Cari Champion on Yahoo Sports' #WeKeepPlaying live stream Saturday. "I've just had to be adaptive to the circumstances and use the resources that I do have.

"I think all the athletes around the world have to take responsibility for their actions and really follow the guidelines, and I'm hopeful that my fellow Olympians around the world are all doing the same thing," she said.

We don't know exactly when the primary pro sports leagues will return to our television screens, though at least for swimmers, they have something to look forward to. Olympic Trials for swimming were announced to be held next June.

"I'm happy that I have something to start shooting for," she said. "But we still have a lot of meets that we want to have between now and then and we want to resume normal training. It's kind of hard right now to plan things out, but we're doing the best that we can right now and you can only control what you can control."

In the meantime, Ledecky can focus on her schoolwork. Still a student at Stanford University, the five-time Olympic gold medal winner is keeping busy with her spring semester classes.

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Rui Hachimura is eyeing a spot on Team Japan's roster for the 2020 Olympics

Rui Hachimura is eyeing a spot on Team Japan's roster for the 2020 Olympics

In exactly one year, all eyes will be on Tokyo as the Summer Olympics officially begin.

All Wizards fans' eyes will be on Rui Hachimura. He is likely to represent his home country during the 2020 Olympics, stating that he wants to be the face of Japanese athletes

It is expected that Hachimura will be named to the Olympic roster, although there is no official word on the expected lineup.

If selected, the rookie will have the home-court advantage as Team Japan automatically qualifies for the games.

Playing for Team Japan would be a dream come true for Hachimura.

"It has been always my goal to play the Olympics and it is next year, it's crazy," he told NBC Sports Washington. "I remember I always see the calendar and it says three years, four years, five years and now it is the next year."

This is a big deal not only for the rookie but also for his home country.

"Next year in Tokyo, it's a big thing we have been waiting for. Since, you know, when people started to talk about it when I started playing basketball." 

Assuming the USA Men's National Team will qualify for the Olympics, Hachimura may compete against one of his teammates. Bradley Beal was named to the 2018-2020 Men's National Team 35-man roster.

The USA Men's National Team boasts an Olympic record of 138-5 and has medaled in all 18 Olympic appearances. This will be the first Olympic appearance for Team Japan since the 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Canada. 

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