USOC celebrates two-year countdown to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Tuesday, July 24

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.The United States Olympic Committee joins the global Olympic Movement on July 24 in celebrating the two-year countdown to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. To commemorate the day, nearly a dozen Team USA athletes will join together with area youth in Los Angeles – host of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games – for a youth sport clinic and fan meet-and-greet.

In addition, the USOC is sharing thoughts from some of the top U.S. 2020 Olympic hopefuls, distributing sport storylines, launching a digital series tabbed “Tokyo 2020 Tuesday” and promoting #TokyoOlympics across all Team USA social platforms.

With the Opening Ceremony to be held at Tokyo National Stadium on July 24, 2020, Tokyo will be hosting the Summer Games for the first time in 56 years. More than 11,000 athletes from 206 nations are expected to participate in 33 sports and 50 disciplines, including the addition of four new sports and the reinstatement of baseball / softball.

2 YEARS OUT EVENTS

Seven-time Olympic swimming medalistDana Vollmer, Olympic water polo championsAshleigh JohnsonandMaggie Steffens,and 2016 rugby OlympianCarlin Isleswill headline celebrations of the two-year countdown on July 24 in Los Angeles. The athletes will share their inspirational journeys with approximately 100 local youth before leading them through warmups, a basketball clinic and other games at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center Plaza in the Little Tokyo Historic District, located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.

The event – which runs from 3-5 p.m. – will feature a DJ and the Team USA Social Truck presented by OREO, along with several community leaders, including representatives from LA 2028. Following the clinic, Team USA athletes will partake in a fan meet-and-greet before attending the LA Sparks game.

Just south of Los Angeles, two-year countdown Olympic action is taking place in Anaheim as theU.S. women’s national volleyball teamhosts the Japanese women’s team, and in Irvine, withUSA Swimming’s Phillips 66 National Championships. The women’s volleyball team will welcome their counterparts from the 2020 Olympic host country for a joint training camp at the American Sports Centers from July 22-29. The two national teams will hold an informal scrimmage on July 24 at 10:30 a.m. PT that is open to the media, followed by a friendly exhibition match open to the public on July 27 with first serve at 7 p.m. PT at Tustin High School as part of the two-year out celebration.

The 2018 Team USA Summer Champions Series, presented by Xfinity, continues with USA Swimming’s Phillips 66 National Championships July 25-29. More than 900 athletes, including Olympic championsKatie Ledecky,Simone ManuelandCaeleb Dresselwill compete in the biggest U.S. swim meet of the season, which serves as a qualifier for the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo and the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. The Team USA Social Truck will be onsite throughout the event for more athlete meet-and-greets and autograph signings.

Several additional Team USA summer sports will be in action around the globe during the two-year out window, including:

  • Muller Anniversary Games (track and field): July 21-22
  • USA National Team Minicamp (men’s basketball): July 25-29
  • FIVB Tokyo (beach volleyball): July 25-29
  • ITU World Triathlon Edmonton: July 27-29
  • IFSC Climbing World Cup: July 27-28
  • 2018 U.S. Classic (gymnastics): July 27-28
  • Zagreb Grand Prix (judo): July 27-29


2 YEARS OUT IN TOKYO


The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will jointly host a countdown event on July 24 in Tokyo at Tokyo Skytree Town. The celebration will be hosted by Fujio Mitarai, Honorary President of Tokyo 2020; Yoshiro Mori, President of Tokyo 2020; and Yuriko Koike, the Governor of Tokyo. Among the guests will beLos Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who led the successful bid to bring the Olympic and Paralympic Games back to the United States, resulting in the 2028 Games in Los Angeles. Garcetti will join the Tokyo organizers, Japanese athletes, the 2020 mascots and other guests at a ceremony featuring guest speakers, presentations, a paper lantern parade, and celebration dances. For more information, visithttps://www.olympic.org/news/media-resources.

STORYLINES

A robust guide of athlete and sport storylines likely to unfold over the next two years are available atTeamUSA.org/media, as well as qualification and selection procedures and key dates for each sport. Below is a sampling of Team USA’s top storylines heading into Tokyo. For a complete list, click here.

Olympic Inclusion:The International Olympic Committee announced the addition of five sports to the 2020 Olympic program in August 2016. Karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing will all be making their debuts in Tokyo, with a key focus on youth, an element central to the 2020 Games. Meanwhile, baseball / softball return to the Games. Baseball was contested at the Games from 1992-2008, during which the U.S. won three medals. Softball was on the program from 1996-2008 with the U.S. winning four golds and one silver.

G.O.A.T.:Allyson Felix is the most decorated female track and field athlete in history as a nine-time Olympic medalist – including six gold – and 16 career IAAF World Championship medals. With more Olympic medals in Tokyo, she could tie or surpass U.S. legend Carl Lewis, who holds 10 Olympic medals, and become the most decorated U.S. track and field athlete of all time.

Lucky Number Seven:Six-time U.S. Olympic shotgun athlete Kim Rhode is the only woman from any nation to win six Olympic medals (three golds, one silver, two bronzes) across six Games. After earning bronze in Rio in 2016, Rhode is looking like a strong contender to return to the top of the podium in Tokyo. This past April, she broke her own world record in skeet at a world cup in Changwon, South Korea, and recently won the world cup in Tucson, Arizona, marking her 21stcareer world cup gold medal.

Changing Lanes:A two-time world champion in triathlon, Gwen Jorgensen made history at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 when she won the United States’ first Olympic gold in the sport. After giving birth to her first child, Stanley, in August 2017, Jorgensen returned but this time to a different sport: track and field. The 32-year-old has her sights set on winning gold in the marathon in Tokyo and has already competed at a handful of track and field races, finishing seventh in the 10-kilometer at USATF Outdoor Championships and fifth in the 10K at the AJC PeachTree Road Race.

On the Rise:Swimmer Caeleb Dressel won a pair of gold medals on relays at the Rio Games, and he is poised for an Olympic breakout in Tokyo after a huge showing at the 2017 FINA World Championships. In Budapest, Dressel joined Michael Phelps as the only swimmers to win seven gold medals at a single FINA World Championships. He won individual gold in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle and 100m butterfly and added four relay medals. Dressel, who grew up on a farm in rural Florida with a lengthy commute to his training sessions, concluded his remarkable career at the University of Florida last spring when he became the first swimmer to break 18 seconds in the short-course 50-yard free and 40 seconds in the 100y free.

Japanese Roots:

A number of U.S. Olympic hopefuls have Japanese ancestry or other connections to the 2020 host country:

  • Jay Litherland(swimming): Born in Osaka, Japan, Litherland and his triplet brothers, Mick and Kevin, are fluent in Japanese and hold citizenship in the U.S., Japan and New Zealand. Litherland is a 2016 Olympian and has his sights set on Tokyo.
  • Michael Norman(track and field): Norman – whose mother is Japanese and moved to the U.S. in the 1990s – is the NCAA 400-meter indoor and outdoor champion with sights set on representing U.S. at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
  • Daniel Roy(swimming): Roy – who is of Japanese descent – has family living in Tokyo and met his grandparents for the first time during a world cup trip. Roy is a member of the U.S. Swimming Junior National Team and is a 2020 Olympic hopeful.
  • ErikandKawika Shoji(volleyball): The Shoji brothers’ parents are both Japanese and they compete in Japan frequently for U.S. national team matches. They won the bronze medal in Rio and will look to build on that heading into Tokyo.
  • Several Team USA softball players play professionally in Japan includingMonica Abbott, Ali Aguilar– whose grandmother was born in Japan,Keilani RickettsandKristiMerritt.

2020 Encore:Gymnast SimoneBilesstole the show at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, winning five medals, including four golds. After taking time off following her Olympic success,Bileswill return to the mat for the first time at the U.S. Classic in Columbus, Ohio, on July 28. Already the most decorated U.S. gymnast in world championships history, she hopes to become the country’s most decorated Olympic gymnast, trailing only Shannon Miller’s seven medals.

Three-peat:The U.S. women’s water polo team became the first team to ever win back-to-back Olympic gold medals in women's water polo and will be looking for a three-peat in 2020. Ashleigh Johnson – who is considered the best goalie in the world – will look to anchor the team in Tokyo. The 23-year-old holds camps and clinics for children of color in her hometown to help grow the sport she loves.

ATHLETE QUOTES

Journalists are welcome to use the following quotes from Team USA athletes for coverage of the two-year countdown:

“After a long stand without softball in the Olympics and with it now returning, is it possible for the stakes to be higher? Can the opportunity to compete for a gold medal mean more than ever before? Any given day softball will challenge you and demand a lot from you as an athlete, person and teammate. I cannot wait to experience these challenges with Team USA as we continue on our quest to qualify for the Olympics and hopefully have a chance to compete for gold on the international stage. It is our chance to showcase our sport on the world stage and put on the greatest show on dirt. I can’t wait to be a part of this journey.”

  • Monica Abbott, softball, 2008 Olympic silver medalist

“EveryOlympics I’ve trained for and competed in has brought new challenges, obstacles and opportunities that have allowed me to perform at the highest level of elite athletes. Two years out from the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyohas been no different from the last three Games I’ve had the opportunity to compete in. I’ve had to grow wiser and smarter in how I approach these Games, and I still stand fully confident in my ability to challenge for gold even with new challenges. That’s what I love about sports the most – overcoming the challenges and fightingto reach my greatest potential.”

  • David Boudia, diving, four-time Olympic medalist

“Representing Team USA and the United States at the 2016 Olympic Games was a dream come true, and I would be honored to have the same opportunity in 2020. My coaches, teammates and I have diligently prepared for a very important 2018 season, and I am looking forward to putting in the hard work every day to be at my best in the pool over the next two years.”

  • Ryan Murphy,swimming, four-time Olympic medalist

“One of the things I’m really looking forward to in Tokyo 2020 is the atmosphere, the traditions, the culture, and really just my teammates – the memories and comradery leading up to and through the Olympics. That’s just something I’ve found after going to six Olympics – each one is unique and so different. I can’t wait to see what Tokyo brings.”

  • Kim Rhode, shooting, six-time Olympic shotgun medalist

NBC OLYMPICS

U.S. Olympic broadcaster NBCUniversal will help commemorate the countdown to the 2020 Olympic Games with its most robust two-year-out consumer engagement plan ever. It will conduct a multi-week campaign that will utilize the unprecedented assets of NBCU to educate consumers about Tokyo, new sports for 2020 -- such as surfing and skateboarding -- and many of the athletes who are expected to compete. A highlight of the campaign will be a 60-second promotional spot featuring popular Team USA athletes Simone Biles, Katie Ledecky, and Allyson Felix that is scheduled to run across NBCU broadcast, cable, digital, and social platforms. The TODAY show, numerous NBC affiliates across the country, the NBC Sports Regional Networks, and NBC Sports’ youth sports destination SportsEngine will also promote the two-year-out celebration.

U.S. MEDIA ACCREDITATION FOR TOKYO 2020

The U.S. Olympic Committee will start accepting requests from U.S. media organizations for accreditation to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 by the end of the month. The accreditation process will be open to print, online and photographic media organizations based in the United States. More information will be distributed in the coming months.