NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Brian Baker can remember his Olympic experience like it was yesterday.

The former Hillwood High School star, born and raised in Nashville, remembers the pressure of competing in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

“Definitely up there,” Baker told News4 of the top moments in his career. “That’s the only time professionally I was able to rep my country. Anytime you are able to do that, it is a different feeling. As you know, we are an individual sport athlete 99% of the time.”

The former Belmont coach’s advice for this year’s athletes, given COVID-19 protocols, is to enjoy everything the Olympics has to offer.

“Make the most of the experience. It’s a really cool thing that you are definitely not guaranteed to do more than once,” Baker said. “It’s a privilege to be able to experience it. Hopefully COVID protocols won’t interfere too much with that, even though they will in some format.”

Brian Baker

Brian Baker

Brian Baker, of the United States, returns to Yuichi Sugita, of Japan, at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 6…

Baker is currently a national coach for men’s tennis for USTA National Campus at Lake Nona in Orlando, FL. A moment he’ll never forget was the opening ceremonies.

“Even though I played the next day, I was like I’m going to Opening Ceremonies no matter what,” Baker said.

He said if you have time, stay as long as possible because no matter the athlete, another Olympic bid is not promised.

“Not a lot of people get to play more than one Olympics. You want to be able to see and do everything you can, that does not take away from your performance. I would rather stayed six days and watched more and experienced the village a little more.”

 

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