International Olympians Describe Their Biggest Obstacles

International Olympians Describe Their Biggest Obstacles

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Ariarne Titmus (Swimming, Australia)

Ariarne Titmus (Swimming, Australia)

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I have no idea how to swim.”

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Lucca Mesinas (Surfing, Peru)

Lucca Mesinas (Surfing, Peru)

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“My biggest challenge will be getting my surfboard through customs. Do I check it? And is there an extra fee? Can someone help me out here?”

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Hideki Matsuyama (Golf, Japan)

Hideki Matsuyama (Golf, Japan)

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“The course is, like, a 7-minute drive from my house, but they’re still making me stay at the Olympic Village. Like, what the fuck?”

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Aleksandr Vlasov (Cyclist, Russia)

Aleksandr Vlasov (Cyclist, Russia)

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“I gotta make sure no one knows I’m doping.”

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Shi Tingmao, (Diving, China)

Shi Tingmao, (Diving, China)

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Making sure the judges look up from their phones for five goddamn seconds, so you don’t have to do the dive twice.”

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Dan MacLelland (Bowling, Canada)

Dan MacLelland (Bowling, Canada)

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“Deciding whether I want to be on a Wheaties box or the new face of Versace.”

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Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Badminton, Indonesia)

Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Badminton, Indonesia)

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The obstacles one faces playing badminton are huge. I—why are you laughing? Please stop. See, this is just one example.”

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Portia Woodman (Rugby, New Zealand)

Portia Woodman (Rugby, New Zealand)

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“I gotta remember to wear my mouthguard during these rugby games. I’m already on my fourth set of teeth, and they are starting to get expensive.”

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Tom Daley (Diving, England)

Tom Daley (Diving, England)

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Representing England. It’s just not a country you can feel good about.”

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Santiago Lange (Sailing, Argentina)

Santiago Lange (Sailing, Argentina)

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“The biggest thing I need to remember is to check for stowaways on my sailboat before heading out onto the water. They can really slow you down.”

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Mo Farah (Great Britain, Track and Field)

Mo Farah (Great Britain, Track and Field)

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“I brought 17 Yorkshire puddings in my suitcase, but I’m scared it’s not going to be enough.”

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Uta Abe (Judo, Japan)

Uta Abe (Judo, Japan)

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“My obstacle is lasting two weeks without dying of utter fucking embarrassment at this shitshow my country insists on putting on.”

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Wang Jianjiahe (China, Swimming)

Wang Jianjiahe (China, Swimming)

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It’s definitely a cultural adjustment meeting athletes from countries like Japan and the U.S. who believe that they’re free, and just being like, ‘Buddy, who’s gonna tell them?’”

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Oksana Chusovitina (Gymnastics, Russia)

Oksana Chusovitina (Gymnastics, Russia)

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“My biggest challenge will be finding some real matcha in Japan. I’m not talking about that overpriced fake shit they sell to tourists. I want the real deal—the stuff they use in ceremonies. Oh, and I also want to do well in my events, I guess.”

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Danuta Kozák (Hungary, Canoe Sprint)

Danuta Kozák (Hungary, Canoe Sprint)

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I must fight the constant urge to go nice and slow in the canoe and take in the scenery. Here’s the thing: if you try to enjoy the scenery, you will lose. Yet how much beauty have I passed by and not even noticed it, focused as I am on paddling fast?”

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Ashleigh Barty (Tennis, Australia)

Ashleigh Barty (Tennis, Australia)

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“Making sure they have blue Gatorade for me. I won’t drink that nasty yellow shit.”

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Camryn Rogers (Hammer Throw, Canada)

Camryn Rogers (Hammer Throw, Canada)

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“I always have to remind myself that my job is to throw the hammer and not get too attached to it.”

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Stephanie Gilmore (Australia, Surfing)

Stephanie Gilmore (Australia, Surfing)

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“If I don’t medal, I’m not going to sell any copies of my book. And if I don’t sell my book, I’m not going to have anywhere to park my car, because there are currently 30,000 self-published copies of my book sitting in the garage.”

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Dame Valerie Adams (Shot Put, New Zealand)

Dame Valerie Adams (Shot Put, New Zealand)

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“Remembering all the words to the Shot Putter’s Incantation.”

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Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (Badminton, India)

Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (Badminton, India)

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“Every time I try to play badminton, someone puts a 20-foot net in my way.”

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