HONOLULU (KHON2) — There won’t be fans in the stands at the Tokyo Olympics, so families of participating athletes will have to watch their kids go for gold from their sofas.
Dave and Mary Shoji are no strangers to the Olympics, having watched sons Erik and Kawika win bronze in men’s volleyball in the 2016 Rio Games. This time, they say it’s tough to sit and watch from home.
“It is challenging, yeah it’s really disappointing that we can’t be there as well as the other parents that we’ve become friends with,” Dave said.
Four-time World Surf League Women’s World Championship Tour winner Carissa Moore is in her first Olympics. Like the Shoji’s, her dad Chris played a vital role in her surfing career.
“I would’ve loved to have gone but everything that’s come before us with the pandemic all the difficulties that the nation of Japan has had to deal with to get the Olympic games on it’s understandable,” Chris Moore said.
Coaching from the bleachers is frowned upon, but at least they can coach from the couch.
“I can jump up and down and scream in my underwear at home,” Moore said. “No one can know the better and at an event I sort of have to stay contained.”
Dave says that his sons will generally listen to Mary’s volleyball advice, but the legendary coach gets eye rolls.
“It’s more tactical things that I yell about what’s happening here I can’t help myself sometimes although I know they can’t hear me,” Dave said.
The Shoji brothers and Moore along with 10 other Hawaii athletes representing the USA are adding to the state’s legacy. According to data analysis company Been Verified, Hawaii has the most Summer Olympians per-100,000 people of any state in America.
“In the village, there’s a giant globe,” Mary said. “Each participant had something to place where they came from, and I thought that was pretty cool. So here’s this little state of Hawaii. We’ve got amazing representation.”
“The boys Micah, Kawika are really playing for the state of Hawaii as well as the country,” Dave added. “That’s very much in the back of their minds is to represent Hawaii as best as they can.”
The US Men’s Volleyball team’s first match will be on Saturday at 2:45 am HST. Mary says that family might not make it to the watch party at their house.
“We’ll open the door about 1:45 and we’ll have pregame but I don’t think anybody is going to take us up on that one. We’ll enjoy it peacefully,” she said.