CHERELLE Thompson is excited to make a splash at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as the challenges leading up to the global event allowed the TT swimmer to develop stronger character traits.

Thompson, 29, will make her debut at the Olympics.

Thompson follows in the footsteps of many other women from TT who represented TT at the Olympic Games.

Karen Dieffenthaller-Donahue (1988 Seoul), Siobhan Cropper (Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000), Cerian Gibbs (1996 Atlanta), Linda McEachrane (2004) and Sharntelle McLean (2004 Athens, 2008 Beijing) have flown the TT flag at the Olympics.

Thompson, who represented the University of Tennessee previously, is the national record holder in the women’s 50-metre freestyle for both the long course and short course.

Thompson put the icing on the cake on her training in South Florida before heading to Tokyo.

Speaking about the Olympics now just days away, Thompson said, “Although my Olympic mission has been, and still is, threatened in many ways by covid19, this pandemic also served to unearth some new levels of faith, resilience and determination to see this dream realised.”

In this February 13, 2020 file photo, TT swimmer Cherelle Thompson gets ready to hit the pool during a training session, at the National Aquatic Centre, Couva. Thompson will make her Olpymic debut at the 2020 Tokyo Games. - Marvin Hamilton

Thompson thanked all those in her corner. “I am grateful for the prayers and support of TT and well-wishers abroad. I am ready now to take my best shot for the glory of God and my country.”

The covid19 pandemic forced the Olympic Games to be postponed by one year. Since early 2020, athletes around the world have had to endure postponed sporting events, cancelled events and changes to their training regime.

Thompson will compete against the world’s fastest swimmers in the women’s 50m freestyle event, the equivalent to the women’s 100m event in track and field.

In a previous interview with Newsday, Thompson said she is about to embark on a lifetime goal.

“I am hungry for the experience that I have been working towards my entire life literally and I am really even more so excited because of the fact that I would be representing TT not just at the Olympic Games, but at a historical Olympic Games.”

Thompson said these games will be a celebration of life as the world continues to battle the pandemic.

“This Tokyo Olympic Games I believe will be a true celebration of triumph over the huge amount of challenges that we all have faced in the last 12 months.”

At previous Olympics athletes have been able to travel around the host city, but Thompson knows this will not be the case in Tokyo due to the pandemic.

“I do wish that I would have been able to get to see more of Japan, but as it is right now the priority is for us to remain healthy and safe and to execute these Olympic Games in accordance with all the protocols that the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and the Japan Federation is putting in place.”