(KTXL) — The Tokyo Olympics are almost here, with opening ceremonies on Friday.
While there are several athletes competing from our region, Alex Obert from Loomis and Del Oro High is focused on helping the men’s water polo team overcome a disappointing finish in 2016 at the Rio Games.
From a team standpoint, the 2016 Olympic games in Rio did not go well for Obert at Team U.S.A.
“We kind of came up short, and we did not make it out of group play and I’ll never forget. We lost the game against Montenegro that kind of eliminated us from group play, and I got a message from my wife, and she said, ‘You’re doing another four years. There’s no way this can be your Olympic experience, not making it out of group play.’ So, here I am again,” Obert said.
Obert and a handful of others are returning from the 2016 squad. He says the last five years have not sat well with any of them.
“That’s kind of our goal. We’re just focusing on getting out of group play and making it to that quarter-final, and then anything can happen when it’s a one-game elimination, kind of like a March Madness tournament,” Obert said.
Obert got ready for the games by playing professionally in Croatia since last September.
“I got the opportunity to play at the highest level, which then prepared me the best for preparing for the Olympics. I was playing on a Croatian team with a couple of gold medalists, a bunch of silver medalists, guys who have won a world championship so that preparation like every day definitely prepared me for the Olympic games,” Obert said.
At age 28, Obert will decide after Tokyo if he will keep on playing internationally. He admits that it is hard to give up a sport he has been playing since his freshman year at Del Oro High.
“After I’m done with the Olympics I’ll really, kind of sit down with my family, sit down with my wife and make that final decision. It is tough, coming up close to 30, it’s hard to keep playing in the U.S., keep leaving your family each year and traveling to Europe to play and things like that. So, I haven’t made that decision yet, but it’s something I’ll definitely do after the Olympics,” Obert said.