Athletes and COVID-19

Athletes and COVID-19

On March 24, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) along with the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee in a joint statement told the world that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be postponed to 2021 due to the Coronavirus or COVID-19. The Olympics just like industry events around the world, made the decision due to safety of the athletes, fans and Olympic personnel. In a recent NY Times it was suggested that the new date would be July 23,2021 for the opening ceremonies of the Games. The announcement was made by the Japanese broadcaster NHK.

Athletes have had a full range of emotion as many have waited eight years to compete in the Olympics. Newer athletes might find the adjustments difficult. In a recent article in Forbes, Michelle Bruton explores the Olympic journey of Hannah Roberts who was going to compete in the inaugural BMX events at Tokyo 2020. The postponing has caused stress do to the training regimen being change due to the quarantine in many cities in the USA and around the world. On the other hand, many athletes are happy for the extra time as they can better prepare .

Competing in Action Sports

Athletes who compete in events like BMX and skating are considered action sports athletes and do not have salaries or roster bonuses for their livelihood like many professional athletes. Many of these athletes depend on sponsorships, endorsement and contest money. The postponement doesn’t impact only athletes but sponsors, advertisers, local businesses, coaches, trainers and support staff to the Olympics and athletes as well.

Assistance for Athletes

With the challenges of COVID-19, the following resources are available for athletes in these trying times:

Athlete 365 by the IOC offers a range of tools and services and it’s the world’s largest athlete community. There are updates from the Olympic Community as well as COVID-19. There is career advice, online learning and so much more.

World Athletics has a new section on their website called The New Normal: life in the time of Coronavirus, a place where articles are shared on how the athletics community is adjusting, coping and assisting their communities  in this pandemic. Stories include Haile Gebrselassie, the legendary long distance runner from Ethiopia donating 50,000 to the COVID-19 National Resource Mobilization Committee in his home country.

The NCAA through their Sport Science Institute has a FAQ session and answers questions about COVID-19. There are tips on health, mental health and exercises that athletes can do to stay in shape while they are in quarantine.

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