The countdown clock for the 2020 Summer Games formally sits at 143 days, and Canada’s prime athletes are making the ultimate push towards realizing their private desires of Olympic glory.
Already beneath immense stress — the Olympics solely come each 4 years and, for a lot of, they’re a once-in-a-lifetime alternative — these younger women and men face one other large impediment on the rocky highway to Tokyo.
The coronavirus has already compelled Canadian athletes — in sports activities reminiscent of observe and area, water polo, and desk tennis — to scuttle coaching camps and bow out of main competitions.
In the larger image, the athletes have no thought if the Tokyo Games themselves is perhaps postponed or cancelled altogether. The opening ceremony is scheduled for July 24.
“The help groups — the coaches and the households — will help by redirecting them to focus on the right here and now,” says Dr. Tricia Orzeck, a licensed psychologist with a specialty in sports activities.
“One day at a time. They cannot management what determination is made with Tokyo, so actually they simply want to simply hold focusing on what they’re doing now.”
One of Canada’s brightest stars, Andre De Grasse, is taking pictures for gold within the 100, 200 and 4×100-metre relay. He gained silver and bronze on the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, and he badly needs to improve.
His telephone is continually bombarded with information about coronavirus.
One of the quickest males on the planet, De Grasse cannot outrun the fixed discuss in regards to the rising menace.
“It is frightening, however I simply attempt not to give it some thought,” De Grasse informed Radio-Canada Sports.
“I type of have to proceed to hold focusing on my sport and hoping that by the point the Olympics come round the whole lot is cleared, the whole lot is prepared to go, and everybody goes to have a good time on the Olympics.
“So we’ll see.”
Preparing for potential calamity is nothing new for the International Olympic Committee. Fears of the H1N1 pandemic hung over the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. The menace of the Zika virus triggered some athletes to bow out of the 2016 Summer Games in Rio.
Two years later in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the principle difficulty was Norovirus.
“The Canadian Olympic Committee and the IOC — and certainly all nations — at all times put together for this sort of eventuality,” Dr. Bob McCormack, the Canadian Olympic Committee’s chief medical officer since 2004, informed CBC News Network.
“Like any large Games, you intend for the worst and hope for the most effective. And the identical factor actually applies this time.”
WATCH | COC’s chief medical officer on affect COVID-19 may need on Canadian athletes:
Death toll sits round 3,000
The world loss of life toll from COVID-19 sits round 3,000, with roughly 2,900 of these fatalities occurring in mainland China. The virus has unfold to greater than 60 nations with greater than 100 deaths. On Sunday, well-being officers introduced 4 new instances in Ontario, bringing the variety of confirmed instances in Canada to 24.
Former IOC vice-president Dick Pound, of Montreal, warned final week that June is the doubtless the cut-off to determine whether the Games will be cancelled.
The Olympics in 1916, 1940 and 1944 had been cancelled due to conflict.
“This is the brand new conflict, and you’ve got to face it,” Pound informed The Associated Press. “In and round there, people are going to have to say: ‘Is this beneath adequate management that we will be assured of going to Tokyo or not?'”
Tokyo organizers acted swiftly to guarantee people who cancellation just isn’t on the desk. But the unfold of coronavirus is escalating and the scenario is fluid.
“At this level, the plan is to plan that the Games will be on,” McCormack mentioned. “This is a unique virus. And it actually is a priority. The greatest concern is that we do not simply know the main points. We do not know the trajectory it is going to take. We do not know if it is going to come beneath management or not.”
The COC issued an announcement late final week that mentioned: “As of now, and primarily based on all scientific data accessible, our plans stay unchanged, all whereas being alert that we should at all times think about necessary and obligatory public-health precautions as they come up … COVID-19 is a fast-evolving scenario globally, and we will replace or revise our Games planning as obligatory.”
Canadian athletes left to practice
In the meantime, the athletes are left to practice as if the Games will occur, with no way of predicting whether they really will.
Orzeck advises would-be Canadian Olympians to focus on the duties in entrance of them.
“Focus on doing the most effective which you could within the coaching in your World Cups and the coaching camps which might be all arising,” says Orzeck, former chair of the sports activities psychology part of the Canadian Psychology Association.
“Things are taking place in a short time for these athletes that compete in the summertime, so it is actually gearing up for almost all of my athletes I’m working with.
“Every day to attempt to do the most effective the most effective which you could be the highest of your sport, but in addition simply the highest for your self.”
Canadian seaside volleyball star Brandie Wilkerson is making an attempt to adhere to that knowledge.
“There’s at all times numerous information, numerous totally different concepts and issues that present up earlier than an Olympic Games that trigger numerous consideration,” she informed CBC Sports.
“So whereas I at all times need be sure we’re all secure and wholesome, I feel I’m simply wanting to simply type of wait and see and belief within the technique of containing this stuff and regulating it — after which type of make a judgment from there and never be so [hasty] to panic.”