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The Journey to Tokyo changes for Lady Vol Erika Brown

The past few weeks have been difficult, but the Olympic hopeful is relieved the 2020 Games have been postponed.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will have lasting ramifications. Financial ramifications and political ramifications. That's not even taking into account the impact on the athletes or potential athletes, like Lady Vol Erika Brown.

"Once they canceled something as big as the NCAA's it made me start to question everything else too," Brown said.

Brown and the Lady Vols were one of the hottest programs going into the postseason, fresh off of their first SEC Championship in program history. Brown was named SEC Swimmer of the meet for the second-straight season, but the biggest splash came out of the pool weeks later: the cancellation of the NCAA championships.

"It was really sad, a lot of tears, a lot of silence for a while. It was just a difficult moment because you go through so much together and you work so hard and especially after the season that we've had, we're just such a close knit family and we had big goals for NCAAs and we were on another mission."

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But there was nearly no time to grieve the end of a season.

"The Olympics as of that moment was still happening, so we had to figure out what are we going to do about training." 

Consistency has been hard to come by. The last time Brown was in the pool was Saturday and with new guidelines and mandates, she doesn't know when she'll have a chance to get in the water again. So Tuesday's postponement of the Olympics wasn't a sad moment. For Brown it was the right thing to do.

"I shouldn't be wanting to go out and find a pool and go out and train wherever I can, because then I'd be putting others at risk and also myself and I never want to be in a position where I'm possibly harming someone else, so I think that was the best decision and it's a bit of relief," Brown said.

But the biggest relief will be when this is all over and Brown can jump in the pool once more.

"I've been thinking about it a lot and all the times I've taken if for granted, you get up early one morning think 'oh, I'm tired, I don't really want to do this,' you just have those days. I'm never going to have those days again I'm going to be grateful every single day."