San Diego to Tokyo

Waiting on Tokyo: Olympic Triathlete Calls It ‘A Constant Grind'

Summer Rappaport became one of the first American athletes to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics while running, biking, and swimming around San Diego

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Tokyo Olympian Summer Rappaport pushes her body to exhaustion for a living.

Day after day after day after day.

Such is the life of a professional triathlete.

"One of the things hardest about what we do is just dealing with a constant grind, I spend a lot of time on the road, a lot of time away from my family,” said Rappaport who admits to just being “tired all the time."

Rappaport typically swims five times per week, bikes six times per week, and runs up to eight times per week.

The weekly workouts add up to about 35 hours of training.

But, in the midst of uncertainty brought on by a global pandemic and 1-year postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, she does have something working in her favor that most other athletes don’t.

She has the benefit of attacking her daily grind knowing she has already secured a spot on Team USA.

Rappaport punched her ticket to Tokyo way back in August of 2019, becoming one of the first Americans to do so.

Of course, like everyone else, she’d assumed the Olympics would take place in the summer of 2020 and not the summer of 2021.

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“Part of the difficulties are I spent most of 2020 from March of last year to January of this year away from training partners and my coach, so it's been very difficult training by myself for that period of time" said Rappaport.

The past year has brought a lot of changes to Rappaport's life.

For starters, she no longer lives in San Diego after moving to Durham, North Carolina, with her husband who accepted a new job.

Rappaport, who would often blend in with other San Diegans along the trails of the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve or in the swimming lanes at the Clairemont Community Pool, said she misses the warm weather, especially during this past winter.

But these days she misses a lot of things, starting with her husband who she hasn’t seen since January, because she has been overseas training with an elite group of triathletes in Portugal.

She won’t return to the United States until after the Olympics.

“There's always periods when you're in a long-distance relationship, but COVID has really brought it to the next level with the travel restrictions," Rappaport said.

With the postponed Tokyo Olympics now looking more and more like a sure thing, it is becoming a little easier to make sense of all the sacrifices.

Rappaport is ready for the final push towards a once distant finish line, now finally in view.

She has been ready for a long time.

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