TOKYO, Japan — Paracyclist and Falmouth, Maine, native Clara Brown is among the first athletes slated to compete when the Paralympics Games in Tokyo, Japan, kick off on Tuesday evening, August 24.
"The venues are spectacular here in Tokyo," Brown told NEWS CENTER Maine in a ZOOM interview. "So I'm excited to get ready and compete."
Brown will cycle in four Paralympic events: the 3km and 500m track races and the 16km and 39km road races.
"I just hope to make Maine proud," she said. "I mean, I'm proud to be from Maine and I think the community there really has encouraged me the whole way through and I'm just really excited to have it all come together and have the result I'm hoping for."
Brown will first race in the track events. She says the track in Japan is one of the smoothest rides she's ever cycled on.
"In L.A., it's an older surface, so it's a little bumpier and you can feel the wood grains, but the one here is like glass. It's so nice," said Brown.
In the midst of another COVID-19 lockdown in Japan, these games mark the first time Clara will compete in a major race without her family in attendance.
"It's definitely the most stressful race situation I've ever been in, not having people here beyond my teammates to lean on," she said.
Her family seemed to sense that and they thought ahead: through the collaborative effort of her mother and father, Brown arrived at her room in Toyko to find dozens of letters waiting for her.
Brown said she was in shock, "and then it processed, this entire stack of mail was from people and I was like, oh my gosh, and I just started crying."
The letters and messages were from family, close friends, and even complete strangers, all giving her all the support she needed.
"I mean, it took me three nights to go through," she said. "It was amazing every night just kind of winding down and reading these heartfelt notes."
Now, after years of intense training, and feeling the love from halfway around the world, Clara Brown is ready to put her skills to the test on the world stage.
Clara shared her full race schedule in an Instagram post Tuesday, saying:
"I will race FOUR events total, two on the track (3k individual pursuit and 500m time trial) and two on the road (individual time trial and road race). Luck would have it, my events are all first thing in the morning in Japan, so late evening US times and hopefully easily viewed live! This Paralympic Games is unique in that NBC Sports will air primetime coverage for the FIRST time ever. All of my events, with the exception of my 3k IP qualifier first off, will be broadcast live on NBCSN alongside several other awesome sports. If you miss them live, you can stream the coverage on NBCOlympics.com, NBC Sports app, or Peacock.
Aug. 24 at ~9pm EST: WC1-3 3k IP qualifier (track cycling)
Aug. 24 at ~10:30pm EST *live coverage immediately following re-air of Opening Ceremonies 🎉 *: WC1-3 3k IP final (track cycling)
Aug. 26 at ~9pm EST: WC1-3 500 TT (track cycling)
Aug. 30 at ~9pm EST: WC1-3 individual time trial (road cycling)
Sept. 2 at ~9:30pm EST: WC1-3 road race (road cycling)"
For the full TV schedule, visit: https://www.nbcolympics.com/news/2020-tokyo-paralympic-games-tv-schedule