Like most of us, John Boie remembers exactly where he was when sports came to a halt in 2020.
"We were at our national tournament in March, out in Wichita. We played our first game that day, we won, we went to dinner as a team and we were watching the news. The NBA shutdown, March Madness was over, and they were canceling everything. We were like 'wow, we are the last sporting event going on in the United States right now,'" says John Boie, a Wisconsin native and nationally known wheelchair basketball player.
Discovering wheelchair basketball at the age of 11, John has competed all over the world as a member of Team USA. His most recent competition at Lima 2019 resulted in a gold medal finish. But Toyko 2020 was set to be John's first Olympic appearance.
"Yeah, I mean you get a lot of momentum going into it and it's exciting stuff building up to an Olympic year, and it's three years of training to get ready for it. It's taken a lot of mental prep to get ready for the next year, because I just think of it as a longer runway for 2021," says John.
A longer runway usually isn't a problem. However, John was playing through a shoulder injury.
"I had cortisone shots over the last year, trying to get me through the last year and Tokyo games. But once those didn't happen, I kept trying to train. But I was going from 100 percent to 90 percent to 70 percent by the time 2021 comes around," says John.
Undergoing surgery to be physically ready, John experienced a positive mental side effect.
"When I had my surgery, I wasn't able to go to the gym or poor milk into cereal. It showed me how much my identity is in basketball," says John.
Currently rehabbing at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, John still has obstacles to overcome to compete in Tokyo.
"End of May is when we are scheduled to have our team tryouts. They are keeping together the same group of 17 guys that made the cut last year, but they are cutting it down to 12. So that's the big thing on my calendar," says John.
Not shying away from what lies ahead, John knows what he is capable of.
"I'm entirely confident in what I've done and also what my teammates and my captains continue to tell me," says John.
He's also just as confident in what Team USA could achieve in 2021.
"Being able to make it back to that stage, and for a lot of those guys, repeat a gold medal hopefully. That's going to mean the world to us. A turning point of even though it's the Olympics, but at least somewhat of a normalcy in our lives. We get to compete at a high level and that's what we want to do," says John.