The COVID-19 pandemic impacted sporting events across the world. The uncertainty certainty surrounding conditions in different countries and concerns over the safety of athletes, coaches and fans led the International Olympic Committee to postpone the Summer 2020 Olympic Games until 2021.
Now slated to begin in July 2021, the Tokyo games were rescheduled amid fears surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. While this postponement had numerous effects on athletes, coaches and athletic organizations, it also affected collegiate athlete’s training for these games.
Student-athletes in universities across the country had been preparing for the summer 2020 games for years; some even made changes to their academic programs to accommodate their training for the Olympics. Scott Tolman, senior mathematics major and member of the men’s swim team at CBU, has been training for the United States Olympic Trials for years now.
“I actually decided to change my major to get in more practices and take fewer units, which helped me get in the hours I need to train,” Tolman said.
Athletes such as Tolman, who made significant changes to their educational pursuits to train for the Olympics, are now facing difficult decisions with the postponement of the games.
Lisa Siregar, assistant coach for the men’s and women’s swim teams and a coach for the Indonesian National Team, had a mixed response to the postponement of the games.
“Two things (when I first heard about the postponement of the games): first thing—oh, bummer. We had been getting ready for a year,” Siregar said. “Second thing—some people were glad they could have another chance to try to make the team for another year.”
Athletes and coaches who invested a significant amount of time in preparation for the games have found themselves suddenly disrupted by a global pandemic and the resulting postponement of the Games.
While many are upset by the sudden and drastic changes in athletics that have occurred because of the coronavirus pandemic, some Olympic sports fans think that this postponement is necessary for the safety of the societies and fair competition.
“My initial thoughts in regard to the 2020 Olympics being postponed is it’s necessary for our community to move forward and have equality when competitions start again,” said Spencer Thompson, sophomore mathematics and Christian studies double major.
Lancer athletes and other athletes impacted by the postponement will continue to practice with the hope the Olympics will return next year.