It’s time for Olympic athletes to stand down, relax those diet rules and dial down the training. The 2020 Tokyo Games won’t be opening in July as scheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Olympic officials made the announcement on Tuesday, putting everyone and everything on hold for possibly another 16 months.
San Marino Olympic wrestler Myles Amine, a senior at the University of Michigan, had a feeling the postponement was coming before it became official. After earning a spot in the Tokyo Games by finishing fifth at the world championships last fall, Amine will have to wait another year to compete for gold.
“I guess I kind of consider myself an optimist and try to see the best in every situation,” Amine said during an interview in the driveway of his parents’ home in Brighton, Michigan.
Four-time Olympic gold medalist Allison Schmitt has been training to try to qualify for a fourth Olympics appearance. Schmitt says she has “mixed emotions” about the postponement decision. “Frustration, of course,” she said from Tempe, Arizona. “There’s a plan in place, and you follow that plan. And then there’s that end result. Obviously, that date has changed, those plans have changed. But as always, plans do change.”
Cheryl Angelelli, a retired Paralympic swimmer, says she understands how athletes are feeling. “As an athlete, I can see it through the athletes’ eyes that this is a huge, huge disappointment. But I also work in health care and I see the devastating effects that this virus has had on our country,” Angelelli said.
For most people, the new virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority recover.