The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games have been postponed until next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but for pistol shooter Alexis “Lexi” Lagan, the delay is not unwelcome news, as the year’s postponement provides more opportunity to hone her skills.
“I would not have had the best opportunity to compete at the Olympics had the Olympics not been postponed,” Lagan, 27, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.
The International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee released a joint statement on March 23 explaining their decision to postpone the games.
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“In order to safeguard the health of the Olympic athletes and everybody involved in the Olympic Games, and to make a contribution to the containment of the coronavirus, we agreed to postpone the Olympic Games 2020 to ’21, [at the] latest, summer ’21,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a video message.
The IOC subsequently announced on March 30 that the Summer Games are now scheduled to take place July 23-Aug. 8, 2021. The Paralympics will run from Aug. 28 to Sept. 5, 2021. Despite the postponement, the IOC says the games still will be held in Tokyo and referred to as the “Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
American racing cyclist Chloe Dygert Owen, who took silver in team pursuit at the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, likewise is taking advantage of the additional time to rest and train.
Dygert Owen, 23, said the postponement is “disappointing,” but noted the additional time is allowing her to recover from a series of injuries.
Since 2017, I had a hip injury. I was out the whole season. [In] 2018, I had a concussion. I was out [for] the end of the season. And last year, I had a knee surgery in December, and so, I raced the entire season, but I was not fit for where I needed to be until the end of the season, and so, I basically only had two races where I was at the level I needed to be at … .
Having this full year to—knock on wood—hopefully stay healthy and strong is giving me that one more year of strength, and I think that’s going to make a huge difference for me.
Lagan, the pistol shooter, said the postponement “was kind of expected.” But she added that unlike her and the other 73 Team USA athletes, such as Dygert Owen, who have already qualified and can now adjust their training schedules accordingly, the postponement of not only the games, but also the qualifying competitions, put many other athletes in a difficult position.
“The Olympic trials are so very different from competing at the Olympics,” Lagan explained. “ … The training is different, the mental prep is different, so now these athletes that were expecting to be on a bit of a downslope right now … they have to maintain at this really high training level.”
But the postponement does take some of the pressure off athletes who were trying to continue their training at gyms and other public facilities amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Olympic-qualifying climber Kyra Condie told The Daily Signal in a phone interview that training became a challenge for many athletes because of COVID-19.
“It’s kind of rough. You know people were trying to train, because the Olympics were in four months … that’s really hard to keep social distance while keeping your training up,” Condie said.
Condie, 23, who began climbing in 2008, said she was relieved that the Summer Games were not canceled altogether.
“I was really worried about it getting canceled, and that would be really devastating, especially for climbing, because it’s the first time it is going to be in [the Olympics],” she said.
Condie, like Lagan and Dygert Owen, hopes to take advantage of the extra time to prepare for the competition.
“I am kind of trying to look at it as just more time to train and be better prepared to represent the U.S. and my sport as best as I can,” Condie said.