Hawaii’s Erik Shoji excited for long-awaited Tokyo Olympics
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games less than a month away, the USA Men’s Volleyball team is back in the United States for their final preparations before the long-awaited games.
The team is back at their Anaheim, California training facility to hold their last practices in the US. On the official roster are a trio of local players set to make their second Olympic games — Micah Christenson, Erik and Kawika Shoji.
Erik — the younger Shoji brother — has been a force at the libero position for the US and is looking forward to finally competing in Tokyo.
“You know its been a big part of the journey and we were all expecting to go last summer,” Shoji told reporters. “Things got postponed, took a whole other year to kind of prepare, but I think were just happy it didn’t get canceled, it got postponed instead and we’ve been working really hard to get ready for it.”
The libero turning the pandemic into a positive, while also staying focus on the team’s ultimate goal — Gold.
“There’s no reason to be negative or be down about it you know,” Shoji said. “We get this experience, we’re going to the Olympics, the pinnacle of our sport and there’s no reason not to be positive.”
“Our goal is another medal. Gold, Gold is the goal always, that’s why we play, that’s why we prepare, that’s why we work so hard.”
The adversity Shoji faced, was made easier to navigate thanks to his brother Kawika, who will also be making his return to the Olympics.
“Just to go through something so amazing, but also challenging with someone that you love and have one hundred percent support from is huge,” Shoji said. “I know that we’re here for each other, we talk all of the time, we train together of course and you know it’s been really fun.”
Along with Erik, the other Hawaii natives are honored by the support shown from the islands.
“I know volleyballs huge in Hawaii, we have three guys on the team from there, so I hope that the islands can get together, cheer us on and support us,” Shoji said. “We feel it, so were really thankful for that.”
The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Opening Ceremonies are set for July 23 on KHNL.
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