Shoreham Olympic archer Bryony Pitman on her time in Tokyo

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A FIRST Olympian has revealed what life was like in Tokyo’s Olympic Village during Covid.

Bryony Pitman finished ninth in individual archery in Tokyo – her first-ever Olympics.

During an interview with The Argus Podcast, the Brighton-born athlete said it was a challenging experience competing in a nearly empty stadium without friends and family.

“My family planned to go before Covid but there were no spectators,” she said.

“You have all these huge bleachers all around you, but like five people in them. It was a really strange experience.”

After the 38th qualifying session, the 24-year-old, who now lives in Shoreham, was given a challenging route in the competition and had to face off against two former Olympic medalists.

She said that after a not-so-strong start, finishing in the top ten was “unexpected”.

“I think the pressure got to me. Before my first arrow in the qualifying round, I thought, ‘I just have to shoot that first arrow and I can call myself an Olympian,'” she said.

“But I did it and my first dart was a ten. After that I was so shaky and had so much adrenaline.

“There were three days off until the last day. I’ve been training a bit and I guess I just didn’t quite get into the same mindset.

“You think, ‘By the end of today, I could be an Olympic medalist.’ You get all these thoughts that are hard to control.”

Olympic archer Bryony Pitman

Recalling the preparation and her time at the Olympics, Bryony said it was both difficult and rewarding due to Covid-19 guidelines.

“I mainly trained alone. I did home workouts that got so boring,” she said.

“It was tough, especially when it was postponed. You have these thoughts that you feel like you have nothing to train for. It was very stressful.

“Even when we were traveling in Tokyo, I tried to avoid news as much as possible. You still catch a glimpse of someone saying the Tokyo Olympics could still be canceled and you’re like, ‘I just have to make it to day one’.”

She was one of hundreds of athletes from around the world at the belated Olympics and said meeting with Olympic and Wimbledon champion Andy Murray was a highlight.

“We walked by in our Team GB kit and as a courtesy you say hello to your teammates even if you don’t know who they are,” she said.

“So he walked by and said hello, so we turned our backs on him, and I walked forward a few feet and said, ‘What a minute, that was Andy Murray.'”

The full episode of The Argus Podcast with Bryony Pitman is available now on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

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