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VERIFY: Olympians only need to qualify once for Tokyo Games

Olympic hopefuls are still competing for a spot on Team USA in the Tokyo Games. But what about athletes who qualified in 2020?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — We're officially 100 days from the 2021 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, and the games will be one year later than originally planned due to COVID-19. 

The pandemic forced organizers to postpone plans for Tokyo in 2020, putting everything on hold for athletes around the world. Now, some people are wondering if the qualifying process has changed now that everything is delayed. 

QUESTION: Do Olympians who qualified for the 2020 games have to re-qualify for the 2021 games?



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According to the IOC, athletes who already qualified for the Olympics prior to the postponement will keep their spots, and any Olympians who qualified last year automatically qualify for this year's games. 

About 61% of Olympic spots have been filled, according to the IOC, but just 23% of Team USA's spots are filled. 

Why does Team USA have such a low percentage of Olympic spots filled? You can thank COVID-19. 

When the Olympics were postponed, so were many Olympic trials, the competitive meets held in order to select the United States' representatives at the games. 

RELATED: 100 days until the Tokyo Olympics: How the 2021 games will look

In fact, Olympic trials are happening now and will continue through the end of June. This means there are still many athletes vying for a shot at making Team USA and fulfilling their Olympic dreams. 

The Tokyo Olympics officially begin with opening ceremonies on July 23. You can watch the opening ceremonies live at 7 a.m. on WCNC Charlotte. 

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