By Justin Seward
Cypress County’s Sage Watson is gearing up for her second Olympic Games in Tokyo and her goal is to reach the podium.
Watson begins competition on July 31 with the 400-metre hurdles and later in the games, the 4-x-4 women’s relay team.
She is in a good mind set heading into the games.
“The training has been going really well,” said Watson.
“I’ve been working really hard on things that I was looking to correct this past while. This year’s been a little rough with getting competitions and all the COVID restrictions. But I feel like I’m really strong right now—I’m in a good place—and I’m looking forward to getting out on the track and just seeing how fast I can run and push myself to the finals.”
She feels more prepared this time around compared to five years ago in Rio.
“I feel so much more prepared and experienced,” she said.
“When I went to Rio, I was still a college student, and now this is my fourth-year pro. So, I have way more international competitions under my belt—I know what to expect. I know what racing at a big meet like the Olympics feels like.”
Watson’s focus is to medal.
“The focus this year is to go for a medal, of course,” she said.
“It should always be kind of the goal. But you know I have to take it round by round. The focus in the first round will be making the semi-final, and the focus in the semi-final will be making the final and then once you’re in the finals, that’s when you go for a medal.”
She is the type of athlete who thrives off of higher pressure on her because it pushes her to be at her best on the track.
“I’m excited to have that pressure,” she said.
The Tokyo Summer Olympics will not be allowing spectators in the stands due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and for Watson that means her coach and family will not be able to attend in person.
“The no fans honestly didn’t really affect me because the people who matter the most to me in the stands would be my family and my coach and the people who truly support me,” said Watson.
“I’ve known along time they wouldn’t be coming to the games and it’s honestly heartbreaking to know that your family won’t be there in person to watch the biggest meet of your life.”
Athletes will not be attending the opening and closing ceremonies and wander around the Olympic village.
“It’s going to feel a lot different and I don’t quite know how it’s going to feel,” she said.
“But I’ve been definitely preparing myself just to focus on what I can control, and that’s me competing and me putting down the possible race I can put down.”
She is looking forward to representing Canada at the Olympics as she thinks it’s a huge honour.
The Tokyo Summer Olympic Games run from July 23 to Aug. 8.