Pre-Games Bonus: Inspired Viewing

What sparks an Olympic athlete to become an Olympic athlete? What drives their desire to train for hours on end to compete in the world's most high-pressure athletic environment?

The answer for most is other Olympians.

In Episode 3 of The Podium: An NBC Olympic and Paralympic podcast, titled "Pre-Games Bonus: Inspired Viewing," Zora Stephenson asks some of the most successful American Olympians and Paralympians about their 'Why?' moments: why they became an athlete, why they strive for Olympic greatness and why they continue competing even when they're in a rut.

"I always think to myself, especially as a veteran on the pool deck now, the younger ones are always watching," said McKenzie Coan, a two-time Paralympic swimmer and six-time medalist. "I remember watching Jessica [Long] handle herself, and how Erin [Popovich] handled herself on the pool deck at meets, and I remember watching their routines and their crafts and wanting to imitate them and be like them ... so I want to be that for the next generation."

For some, those moments have come full circle, their idols now cheering them on from the stands as they once did as budding athletes.

Hear all about that and more from athletes like Sha'Carri Richardson, Bobby Finke, Frederick Richards, Jagger Eaton and Mallory Weggemann in this week's episode of The Podium!

Episodes of The Podium release weekly in the lead-up to Paris, then every day once the Olympic flame is lit at the Opening Ceremony.

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