2020 Olympic hopefuls have spent the last few years doing everything they can to qualify for Toyko.
Now, as the games get pushed back to July of 2021, those athletes need to reset and re-train for next summer.
We caught up with Missouri State Track Coach Carmelita Jeter to get an Olympian’s perspective on the challenges these athletes may face.
As both an Olympic and World Champion, Jeter knows what it’s like to compete on the world’s largest stage, so she knows first-hand how postponing the Olympics might affect the athletes.
“It definitely changes things,” Jeter said. “Being an Olympian, you put your all into those four years. So now you pretty much have to start all over again and refocus.”
While postponing the games is not ideal, Coach Jet says it’s better than the previous state of unknown.
“Because there is a set date [of next July], that helps everybody say ‘okay hey we’re going to refocus and shut it down right now and re-goup mentally and physically and we’ll come back in October and November and hit it hard again,’” Jeter said. “So because there is a set date of July, that’s going to help a lot of people, a lot of coaches to re-arrange the training help get everybody back in line.”
But it’s not just on the track where athletes will need to adjust.
“For some athletes it might be a little more difficult, especially if you put all your eggs in one basket this year, all of your money, all of your finances. Now you have to figure out how to regroup and do it for one more year,” Jeter said.
It’s an experience Jeter can relate to.
“The one hiccup I did have was in 2008, I didn’t make the [Olympic] team, so I had to wait another four years to get my opportunity again,” Jeter said.
It’s an opportunity she made the most of, as Jeter anchored the 2012 4×100 meter relay to a world-record time and Olympic gold.
The Tokyo Olympic hopefuls can only hope their story ends in a similar fashion.
The Olympics postponement also means the U-S Olympic trials will be pushed back.
A new date for that competition has not been set yet.