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2020 Olympics: Ariel Atkins is adjusting to Tokyo and role with Team USA

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Atkins has learned that she’s a lot more adjustable than she thought she was.

The USA Basketball women’s national team has only been in Tokyo for a few days so it’s no surprise that Washington Mystics guard Ariel Atkins is “very, very tired.” The first time Olympian and 2019 WNBA champion admitted to not being adjusted to the time change from Las Vegas, where the team held training camp and played exhibition games against Nigeria and Australia.

“It’s hard, so I’m glad we got here a little early so that I can figure out when to sleep, and when to be awake,” Atkins said on a zoom call after practice on Thursday.

The 24-year-old has relished her Olympic experience thus far but is making sure to soak it all in, one day at a time. “I really enjoyed the process of trying to figure out what I can bring to this team, and what we’re going to look like, and as well as just how I’m going to be able to operate outside of the game and learn what my body needs in order to function.”

Atkins and her teammates will take the court for the first time in Tokyo this upcoming Tuesday in their first Olympic game against Nigeria but that’s a special moment she hasn’t even thought about yet. “I’m really just trying to live in the moment and take things as they come,” she said. “I’m not trying to think too far ahead and not get in my own head and not overthink. I just really want to appreciate every moment for the way that it is and however it comes.”

Atkins hasn’t adapted to the time difference but she’s proud of how she’s adjusted despite all the travel, schedule and all the new information that comes with being on the Olympic team. “I have to give myself credit for being a lot more adjustable that I thought I am,” she said.