BILLINGS - One year later than expected, Tokyo's Summer Olympics open Friday with Montana sending three athletes into competition.
The Treasure State's most remarkable story may center on Butte shooter Nick Mowrer, a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army. He recently became the first U.S. Olympian to qualify in a pair of extremely diverse shooting events: the 10-meter pistol and 50-meter rifle.
The 32-year-old, who was born in Miles City, is making an Olympic comeback eight years after competing in the 2012 London Games. It's highly unusual for a shooter to ace both pistol and rifle events but here he is. The men's pistol event will be decided Saturday while the men's rifle event is Sunday.
Belgrade's Ali Weisz began shooting at age nine. Now at 26, she's an Olympian.
The sharp shooter will compete in the 10-meter air rifle event this weekend and clearly has a sniper's mentality.
“I’m big into breathing and meditation and mindfulness,” she told MTN Sports. “I think that’s one thing that kind of brings me back and centers myself a little bit. That’s something I’ll typically do especially before matches when I’m really feeling that anxiety and the pressure and the nerves. I also have gotten to a point in my career where I know that feeling those are important because it means you actually care about it and you want to do well. It’s nothing to be fearful of. You accept them as they are.”
Montana's third Olympian is a rugby player from Whitefish. Nicole Heavirland took up the sport in high school and will play next week on the women's sevens team.
No matter the sport in Whitefish -- guys or girls -- Heavirland was up for it.
"Thankfully, like my dad knew the wrestling coach, my dad knew the football coach, so I was able to join as a girl and I don't think that's as relevant in other places and I think that has really helped my rugby career," Heavirland told MTN Sports.
Heavirland and the U.S. rugby women play their opener a week from Thursday against China. Japan and Australia are also included in their Pool C group.
This year's youngest overall U.S.A. team member is 15-year-old swimmer Katy Grimes.
Other interesting Tokyo 2020 Olympic tidbits offered by the business website WalletHub estimate Tokyo's cost for hosting at $26 billion. But the city recently declared that due to the pandemic, no spectators are allowed at venues inside the city. That leaves Tokyo expecting a giant financial hit of more than $15 billion.
WalletHub also declares that 80 percent of people living in Japan say they prefer to see this summer's games either canceled or postponed again, but that's against all odds at this late stage.
The complete list of 2020 Tokyo Olympic schedules and results can be seen here.