The 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo was the most anticipated sports event of the year, and several student-athletes at California Baptist University had been preparing for the event.
Unfortunately, the International Olympic Committee and Japanese organizers decided March 28 to postpone the Olympics as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, forcing athletes to extend or adjust their training programs.
The games are now scheduled to take place in July 2021.
Brandon Schuster, senior biomedical engineering major and part of the Samoan National swim team, said he thinks it is the right thing to do with all that has been going on in the world.
“The positive part is I get a whole extra year of training for the Olympics, and I see it as a blessing,” Schuster said. “With everything crazy that has been going on, it is nice to get together with family.”
Lockdowns as a result of the novel coronavirus are in full effect around the world. Schuster said he was not able to train for the first two weeks that he has been in New Zealand.
“I don’t think I will be swimming in the near future,” Schuster said. “I keep in contact with the coaches for them to help me figure out what kind of dry land workouts I should do.”
Schuster competed at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and took a redshirt year to prepare for the 2020 Olympics. He said his training has been more intense with the help of the coaches at CBU.
Lisa Siregar, assistant coach of swim and dive, said there are differences between training for international meets than for college competitions.
“The motivations and goals for the competition itself are different,” Siregar said.
Siregar said swimmers for national teams focus more on their events rather than events that would score more points for the team.
For non-collegiate competitions, swimmers are more focused on practicing a specific event.
Buse Topcu, junior nutrition and food science major and Turkish contender for the 2016 Olympics, said for getting an Olympics cut, she usually practices at a long course swimming pool.
“(In Turkey) we got foreign coaches from Europe and other (places) that helped us prepare for the Olympics,” Topcu said.
While students may be disappointed that they will not be competing this summer, the postponement of the Olympic Games has given the athletes more time to prepare for the 2021 Olympic Games.