Paralympian Mallory Weggemann has opened up about what continues to motivate her, as she prepares for the upcoming Games in Tokyo.
Paralympic swimmer Mallory Weggemann is set to represent her nation at the Tokyo games, and is eyeing another gold medal. The 32-year-old Kansas-born athlete opened up during an exclusive interview with HollywoodLife about what keeps her motivated after so many years of competing. “I have been fortunate through my career to have some really exciting moments and successes, but I have also had some that are really challenging,” she began. “When you look at my career from top to bottom, it goes from being paralyzed in 2008 to within a year and a half, breaking my first four world records and going into the London 2012 games as a fifteen-time world record holder.”
After injuring her arm in 2014, Mallory said she “contemplated retirement” but made it to the 2016 Games in Rio. “I think it was there that I learned success isn’t based on accolades, it is based on how you choose to show up day in and day out and piece together that journey,” she explained. “So, I had so much pride in Rio, but I also left Rio knowing that I had more to give to the sport and I still loved the sport and in fact I probably loved it more than ever at that stage.”
She continued, “This journey to Tokyo obviously has the weight of the Games being postponed a year because of the pandemic but it is also a journey that started after the Rio games with two years removed from competition and a full eighteen months out of the water. I have been fighting for every inch of this dream for quite some time now and I think that is what’s most exciting about this stage.”
“I feel the strongest I have ever felt mentally, I feel at peace emotionally and I feel the strongest ever than physically, so to be able to piece all of that together and go with the confidence I have gained with the successes and the failures and the road bumps and the adversities that have come through this journey to date, and put all that together into Tokyo. I am really excited for it.”
The swimmer also opened up about how she’s expecting expecting Rio to be “different” given the post-pandemic world they’re taking place in. “They are going to be a different games and that’s just part of the reality … Eery games kind of has its own uniqueness that exists … The biggest thing that’s probably going to be tough for all athletes is not having families [in attendance] but it makes a hundred percent sense and it’s what needs to happen in order to allow these games to move forward in the safest way possible,” she explained.
Mallory also said the team would be “limiting interactions” with other athletes in the Village, “because we’re all going to be doing our part to make sure we’re staying socially distanced and keeping ourselves, our teammates, our competitors and everyone at large safe and healthy.”