Were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic, we would soon be watching the 2020 Summer Olympic games on television or, for some of you, in person.
By now you know that the the International Olympic Committee and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe jointly announced the postponement of the 2020 Olympics . Now the games are scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021. The Paralympic Games will occur from August 24 to September 5 ,2021.
“Olympic competition has been canceled only three times in the 124-year history of the modern Games, and all three instances were because of global conflict (1916, World War I; 1940 and 1944, World War II). But never before has a Games been pushed back a year, an enormous undertaking for a global event with more than 11,000 athletes from around the globe. “espn.com
And in other sports..
Major league baseball started its shortened season late. Basketball players are practicing in a “bubble” at Walt Disney Resort (where despite quarantine several players have tested positive for COVID-19). The NFL introduced a “mouth shield” for possible use to protect players from infection. Pro soccer teams are playing to empty stadiums where the referees can hear every critical word the players and coaches mutter. No fans are following pro golfers around the greens.
I follow my local pro and amateur sports teams, although there will likely be fewer of those to watch this year also. I admire athletes’ dedication to their sports, and especially those who achieve special recognition by overcoming great odds to get there.
Reading a recent issue of Sports Illustrated (a rare occurrence) I discovered open-water swimming which I didn’t know was a sport, much less in the Olympics. Ashley Twichell could swim before she could walk.
For thirteen years she has worked to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic swim team and at 31 years old, she would have been the team’s oldest rookie Olympic swimmer since 1908 , if this summer’s games had not been cancelled. And next year, at 32, she will be the second oldest woman to ever swim on the U.S. Olympic team.
Standard of caring
Hayley Wickenheiser, retired ice hockey player, earned seven world championship golds. She played for Canada in five Olympics. She won four Gold medals and one Silver medal. She was admitted to the Hockey Hall of Fame. She even played on a Finnish men’s hockey team. She deserves the unofficial title of history’s greatest female hockey player.
Haley sees the coronavirus pandemic from a different perspective; she will soon be Dr. Wickenheiser upon finishing her final year of medical school. She plans to practice emergency medicine.
Hayley serves on the IOC (International Olympic Committee) Athletes’ Commission, a peer-elected board that advises the Olympics’ governing body. In March 2020, she became increasingly concerned about the fate of this year’s Olympic games as the world became engulfed in the COVID-19 nightmare.
So she took to Twitter demanding the IOC make a definitive plan to give direction to the thousands of athletes in limbo about the games. Her tweets prompted other organizations to make similar demands and by late March the games had been officially cancelled.
Her concern came not just as an athlete. She said,
“I couldn’t sit silently anymore, given what I was seeing in the emergency rooms and hearing from my friends in hospitals across the country.”
As a student she is not expected or allowed to provide direct care to coronavirus patients. But she stays busy studying, working out, giving hockey tips through Instagram, and using Twitter to encourage social distancing.
“The calmer we stay, the more we isolate from each other…if we do our part at home and on the front lines, we have a chance to combat this as a mass group of humanity.”
With Dr. Hayley and her generation of future physicians, I think the world’s health is in good hands.
Fifty-seven years* after having organised the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time. The Games in 1964 radically transformed the country. According to the organizers of the event in 2021, the Games of the XXXII Olympiad of the modern era will be
“the most innovative ever organised, and will rest on three fundamental principles to transform the world:
- striving for your personal best (achieving your personal best);
- accepting one another (unity in diversity); and
- passing on a legacy for the future (connecting to tomorrow)”.
and while you’re here read this post about another historic Olympic event
Winning on the water-a book review of Boys in the Boat
The 2020 Olympics were postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the 1936 games in Berlin Germany are historic for a different reason. And it involves the often ignored sport of rowing.
one more thing
If the title of this post puzzles you, here is an explanation of “called on account of rain”-I didn’t know all of this either.
exploring the HEART of athletes
Thanks for joining me to meet these athletes. I hope you will explore them further and gain new inspiration for your own athletic journeys; we all have one, in one way or another.
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