COLORADO SPRINGS — The Paralympic games are less than three weeks away, and right now is the home stretch for athletes preparing to head to Tokyo.
A dozen Colorado Paralympic athletes are now getting in their last bit of training before making the trip overseas, including Amanda McGrory who's been training in track & field in Colorado Springs.
"It is the final stretch, we're getting really really close to the games, and that's just upping the level of excitement," said McGrory. "Being in Olympic City USA leading up to the games, there's also an energy here unlike anything else I've ever experienced."
McGrory is training to compete in the Paralympics for the 4th time in her career. She said, while she knows the games will be different for everyone because of COVID-19 protocol, she's still looking forward to the trip to Tokyo.
"The biggest differences this year is that there are no spectators in the stands, which is a little bit disappointing because my family isn't able to come to Tokyo and watch," said McGrory. "But it's such an honor. As soon as you put on that team USA uniform and step out onto the field of play for the first time, it makes it all worth it."
In the weeks leading up to the games, McGrory says she's racing six days a week and up to 100 miles every week, and despite winning seven medals in the previous games, she still has some butterflies.
"I think some of the nervousness and the anxiety is starting to set in," said McGrory. "Knowing this is likely the end of my elite athletic career is definitely bittersweet, but I've been told my entire career that you know when it's time to retire, and I feel like I've had a great run."
Emotions also settling in for Tyler "TC" Carter, a two time Paralympic alpine skier who will be working at the Paralympic village and the Athlete Resource Center, also known as the ARC.
"I'm thrilled, and I'm super excited. This is kind of a cool opportunity for me to get out of me being an athlete for a moment and focus on our current athletes," said Carter, who mentioned it's his first time working for the Paralympics instead of being an athlete.
The Paralympic village is where athletes can eat, have some fun, or relax when they're not competing.
"I'm going there to make sure that the athletes are taking care of, that they have what they need so they can be the best that they can, so they can do the best that they can out there," said Carter.
Carter says his most important duty of all when in Tokyo, is supporting the Paralympians.
"If I can make a little difference in their village time, help them with whatever is going on, distress a little bit, then I'm doing my job," said Carter. "I hope everyone tunes in for the Paralympics because it's going to be just as exciting as the Olympics, with another set of athletes, more events going on, and we definitely don't want to miss out on that."
240 athletes will be representing team USA at the Paralympic games in Tokyo. The opening ceremonies are August 25, and the games run through September 5.