NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Alex Walsh will be fulfilling a lifelong dream in Tokyo at the end of this month, but she'll have to leave her family behind.

Their disappointment though can't be outshined by their pride. Since the age of six, Walsh's parents knew she had a gift

“I was talking on the phone to Robert and I was like 'Oh my gosh she can really swim,’” Glynis Walsh said.

And 13 years later the Nashville native headed to the Olympics.

“It’s completely surreal,” Robert Walsh said.

“I’ve dreamed of being an Olympian since I was a kid, but I didn’t really think it was possible until a couple of years ago,” Alex Walsh said.

“It’s been a long journey, and just for it all to come together in that one race really was overwhelming,” Glynis Walsh said.

Her parents were on the sidelines in Omaha as Alex secured a spot on Team USA.

“We were say, 60-yard line, so she was really far out ahead, and we were excited it was really the fastest we’d seen her go,” Glynis Walsh said.

“We realized she had made it and that was when we became overwhelmed with emotion,” Robert Walsh said.

They've been on the sidelines every step of the way, but this next step she'll have to go it alone. Robert Walsh said being they are Very disappointed.

The Olympic International Committee has barred all spectators from the games as part of COVID-19 protocol - including athletes' family members.

“It’s disappointing to not be able to have them there, but I’m just grateful,” Robert Walsh said.

Despite that fact, Walsh is choosing to see the glass, or in this case the pool, half full

“Given the circumstances, I’m happy that they’re able to pull it together,” Alex Walsh said. “I know that they’re going to be watching me anyway.”

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