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Team USA's Jay Litherland looks to satiate his appetite for gold

Litherland has always had a big appetite, now at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games, he hopes to satiate his craving for a gold medal.

ATLANTA — For two-time Olympian and Team USA swimmer Jay Litherland, Tokyo is home.

The 25-year-old was born in Osaka, Japan, and grew up there until he was 3. Litherland's mom is Japanese and his dad is from New Zealand. The family resides in Georgia. 

"We speak Japanese at home, and she cooks a lot," Litherland said. "There were lots of Japanese meals, so keeping that culture in the U.S is something my mom always wanted."

The Olympian is the youngest triplet of his brothers, who always challenged him.

Litherland said his mom's side of the family still lives in Japan, and he wants to perform well for them. He loves visiting the country for its atmosphere, culture and most importantly, the food. 

He said he's always had quite the appetite and looks forward to the food the most at the Olympics -- such as the unlimited McDonald's he had during the 2016 Rio games.

"I just remember eating a ton. My coaches would get mad because I would get super heavy," he said. 

But the former University of Georgia swimmer also craves a chance to celebrate his heritage and win a medal. He said he has about 20 family and friends traveling from Osaka to the games. 

Litherland said Japan is "the perfect fit for the Olympics" because of the pride in culture and how open Japan is to international tourists. 

In 2016, he competed in his first Olympics as part of Team USA's Men's Relay team. He's set to race on Saturday, July 24.