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Many athletes were disappointed by the year-long postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but for Carli Lloyd, it may have helped mend fences with her estranged family.
The 38-year-old USWNT soccer star was scheduled to participate in the Games last summer, but the coronavirus pandemic prevented the international event from taking place last year. Had the Olympics gone on as scheduled, Lloyd may not have reunited with her family after a 12-year rift.
"Would they have been a part of it? Would I have rekindled the relationship with them? I don't know," Lloyd told Today on Monday, later adding, "I'm just happy now that we are in the place that we are, and everybody feels good about it."
Lloyd first discussed the family dynamic in her 2016 book When Nobody Was Watching: My Hard-Fought Journey to the Top of the Soccer World and revealed that she had not been in contact with her family since her father threw her out of the house in 2008 and was not invited to her sister's wedding.
Lloyd has since cut ties with the man at the center of the conflict, James Galanis, who was her personal coach of 17 years.
After releasing her book, Lloyd rekindled her bond with her sister. The Olympian told Today that her sister "kind of helped break the ice a little bit" as the soccer star worked to repair her relationship with the rest of her family. Lloyd's parents and brother visited her for the first time last year and they have spent several holidays together since.
"I think I just got to a point where you go for so long with not talking, and you kind of are like a 'Why are we doing this?' type of thing," she said. "I think it was many different factors that contributed to that."
Lloyd added, "I think when we get older our thoughts change. My parents aren't getting any younger, and life's too short. I feel whole again."
With the Games postponed, Lloyd had plenty of time to recuperate from a knee injury she sustained last year. The athlete told Today that it likely "came at a good time," as she took the next 10 months to "pause everything."
"I think having that bit of a break, also having the injury, also having people doubt me with my age, I'm like, 'All right, sure, you want to say I'm too old, I'm gonna rev it up a few notches and come back even better,' " she said.
Lloyd, who was named to the USWNT roster last Wednesday, will become the oldest American female to play in an Olympic soccer tournament when she turns 39 on July 16. Christie Rampone previously held the record at age 38.
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Outside of the historic achievement, Lloyd told PEOPLE last week that she's excited to represent her country on the national stage once again — and hopefully help bring home the team's fifth gold medal.
"The Olympics is something bigger than just your team. You're part of Team USA, you're representing the United States of America. It's an unbelievable feeling to be able to do that," she said, later adding, "The World Cup is obviously just Women's World Cup and it's soccer and everyone is geared into it, but this event ... you have those avid fans and you have the diehard fans and then you have new fans that maybe want to tune in."
To learn more about all the Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics beginning July 23rd and the Tokyo Paralympics beginning August 24th on NBC.