US sprint star Allyson Felix says she’ll continue her pursuit of Olympic glory despite the postponement of the Tokyo Games in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
After 16 years at the pinnacle of her sport, the 34-year-old American is in the last lap of a glittering career that has seen her earn 13 World Championship titles and six Olympic golds – the most of any female track and field athlete.
“I am not sure what the future holds, but my goals have not changed,” she wrote in an article posted on Time.com on Tuesday, after the International Olympic Committee confirmed the Tokyo Olympics would be pushed back to “no later than summer 2021.”
“I still hope to experience the feeling of standing on that podium in 2021 and I hope my journey to try to get back there will inspire you to keep moving forward.”
Felix said that after learning the Games would be postponed she felt “alone, afraid and unsure.” She noted that the news would resonate differently with diehard sports fans, casual Olympics observers and Olympic hopefuls - who might find it “a crushing blow.”
“I’ve woken up every morning for the last 6,055 days, since I was 17 years old, relentlessly pursuing Olympic Gold,” she wrote. “This has been a sobering reminder that we are not owed our dreams, those dreams do not come free and you do not accomplish them alone.”
She also noted that the sense of loss felt by would-be Olympians on Tuesday was relative amid the Coviod-19 pandemic that has resulted in more than 18,000 deaths and more than 400,000 declared infections worldwide. With a third of the world under lockdown in hopes of slowing the spread of the disease, Felix said that plenty of workers and business owners were facing job loss and uncertainty, just as parents wondered what the world would look like for their children in six months. “We need to grieve our losses and collectively grieve the losses of others, but we have to hold onto hope,” Felix said.
“Right now things are uncertain, we are facing tremendous challenges and loss of an unthinkable proportion,” she said. “But as a global community we have to commit to waking up tomorrow morning and finding a new way to relentlessly pursue our audacious dreams.”
Van Niekerk looks for positives in Tokyo postponement
Olympic 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk says that while the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Games due to the coronavirus outbreak was a “downer” the delay will give him time to regain full fitness after a long period on the sidelines due to injury. The 27-year-old was one of the stand-out performers of the 2016 Rio Games where he stormed to gold in a world record time of 43.03, smashing the previous mark of 43.18 set by Michael Johnson in 1999.
But a serious knee injury sustained in a charity touch rugby game in October 2017 has meant Van Niekerk has seen very little of the track since.
He had just started his competitive comeback in the last few months, giving him little time to prepare for Tokyo.
“I’m trying to see the positive in it,” Van Niekerk was quoted by South Africa’s Daily Maverick yesterday. “I view it as more time to prepare, more time to work and more time to invest in my career. Tokyo is just another stepping stone to the entire legacy that I want to leave behind.” Had the Games gone ahead as scheduled in July, Van Niekerk would have had few opportunities to test his knee and build up speed but he can now be more cautious in his return. “This gives me more time to work and strengthen myself to be in even better shape for the Olympic Games. “As much as it is a downer that it’s not happening this year, it will still happen. There is another opportunity for us as athletes to showcase our talent.”
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