BEACHWOOD, Ohio — After the historic postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the worldwide multi-sport event is now less than two months away, and one Olympian and native Ohioan is training back in his home state.

What You Need To Know

  • The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo were postponed

  • An Ohio native and Olympian is training at a northeast Ohio high school

  • Clayton Murphy will compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials in June

People may not always realize it, but greatness is all around — even at a local high school track.

“Coach always kind of threw out the Olympics and I always kind of like laughed at it at first,” said Olympic runner Clayton Murphy. “And then it kind of became more and more of a reality every year.”

Murphy has been training at the Beachwood High School track.

Courtesy of Clayton Murphy

“Usually out here like two, maybe three times a week on a regular basis," he said. "All the rest of the training is really like gym training, off the track stuff.”

He didn’t always know running was his future.

“So, I was always, like, into soccer,” he said. “So, if you go back and look at all of my third grade like wannabe careers it was always like Division I soccer player, professional soccer player.”

While soccer didn’t pan out, Murphy has made a career in track and field.

Murphy won the Bronze medal in the 800-meter run at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

“I always kind of jokingly say it was, like, only bronze and I only ran like 1:42 and I still have these huge goals of doing a lot more," said Murphy.

Courtesy of Clayton Murphy

The 26-year-old is now training for the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo in July.

“Came off with kind of that chip of, like, I think I have a little more in the tank for the rest of my career for sure," he said.

But first, the Nike-sponsored professional has to qualify at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in June in Oregon.

“I really am worried about myself and what I can do and if as long as I’m in the best shape that I can be in, the healthiest I can be, and as mentally confident in myself as possible, I think the sky’s the limit," said Murphy.

The native of New Madison in western Ohio is an Akron Zip where he was a 13-time Mid-American Conference champion.

He moved from Portland, Oregon to Pepper Pike in northeast Ohio with his wife, Ariana, about a year ago.

“She’s been a great wife and partner and will be forever I’m sure," he said.

She, too, is a track and field Olympian. They met at the Rio games.

“We met in the athlete lounge playing Uno," said Murphy. "It’s also nice to have someone who understands what this sport takes. So, when I go home, 90% of our life has nothing to do with this.”

Courtesy of Clayton Murphy

The commitment is constant when training to compete against the best of the best.

“It really is 24/7, because, like, it matters when I go to bed, like what I eat, like where my mindset is,” he said.

Only the top three finishers in each event at the trials will represent the United States on the world stage.

“I’m really confident with where I’m at," said Murphy.

There was no doubt things would be different this year for Murphy after the pandemic postponed the games.

“I had some injuries. I was moving back here across the country even if there was an Olympics or not. So, there was a lot of moving factors in my life that kind of allowed for an Olympic postponement to kind of be a blessing in disguise when it came down to it,” he said.

While he’s happy they’re happening at all a year later, COVID-19 means no foreign spectators and that includes his family.

“So, I’ve heard a lot about kind of us being quarantined within the village. A lot of testing is going to be going on," explained Murphy. "I’ve been told they’re not going to be requiring vaccinations, although they’re suggesting it. So, there’s a lot of still unknowns even though we are very close to it."

COVID-19 is not the only part of the games making headlines this summer.

The Associated Press reported that the International Olympic Committee is upholding its ban on political or social justice protests at the games. This year, "Black Lives Matter" apparel is not allowed at any of the Olympic venues.

Murphy told Spectrum News that he and his wife support the "Black Lives Matter" movement and they disagree with the decision.

“I was pretty disappointed that they don't allow athletes to kind of have a voice,” said Murphy. “I think us as athletes represent a lot of people and we have obviously a platform to kind of be able to voice our beliefs and opinions and I think limiting us is somewhat unfair.”

According to the AP, the IOC has approved words like “peace,” “respect,” “solidarity,” “inclusion” and “equality” on t-shirts at the Summer Olympics.

But no matter the hurdle, Murphy is ready to race and go for the gold.

“I feel ready to go," he said