After weeks of speculation, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have officially been postponed to next year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Sports reporter David Beck spoke to some of Bay of Plenty's Olympic qualifiers and hopefuls about how they are affected.
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Two weeks ago, Callum Gilbert took a massive step towards achieving a dream.
The Tauranga man, now living in Rotorua, was named alongside fellow Bay of Plenty paddler Luuka Jones to represent New Zealand in canoe slalom at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in July.
Today, he found out he would have to wait a little longer as the Games were postponed to some time in 2021, not later than summer, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.
Gilbert said it had been a strange few weeks with future of the 2020 Olympics up in the air, so it was a relief to have a decision made.
"It's been a really changeable time with lots going on, a lot of my preparation plans had already fallen through or been changed. I'm sort of in this zone of just training but not really knowing when the competitions were going to be or if they were going to be.
"It's nice to have something a bit more definite now and it allows us to make a proper plan again," he said.
While disruptive, more time to prepare is a positive.
"We'll probably do a longer block of base training while we wait to see what other competitions there will be later in the year. Then next year we can really prepare our best for the Olympic Games.
"There are a lot of things I wanted to get right before the Olympics this year but I think giving myself an extra year I can hopefully be even better by this time next year.
"It's definitely been really fluid but, it's interesting, I haven't felt a lack of motivation. I can see how it would come but I actually got into a really nice zone of the day-to-day routine of training and paddling without such a clear end goal. I was just really happy in the process and what I was doing."
Meanwhile, 31-year-old Luuka Jones, who was set to compete in her fourth Olympic Games, was relieved about the decision to postpone, saying it would have been messy if it had gone ahead this year.
"If they had gone ahead in August, we would've been faced with a moral, ethical decision about whether to go or not. I'm really happy that they've made the decision because up until now we were kind of still training as if the Olympics would go ahead.
"Now, we can reassess training and I think the main thing is that it's not cancelled. I was really hoping it would still go ahead but obviously at a later date."
She said her main goal of "just getting better as an athlete" was more than enough to keep her motivated during these uncertain times.
"We've actually still had a lot of opportunity in New Zealand to train on the white water up to now. My competitors in Europe and Asia have been on lockdown for ages and just won't have access to water so I feel quite fortunate we've been able to train up to now. I think the closest some of the Europeans have is on a Swiss ball with a stick.
"We were about to ramp up the intensity but I think we'll now just go back to training as if it was the off season."
The postponement could be a blessing in disguise for Tauranga's O'Dea brothers - Sam and Ben. The 2018 Commonwealth Games beach volleyball bronze medallists have been sweating on Ben's return from injury.
"It's actually good for us, it's an interesting one. Our plans have been put on hold, I was going to train in Germany for the summer so obviously that won't happen but for us it is good in that it gives Ben more time.
"We had taken the pressure off and stepped back from the Olympics a bit, to take the pressure off Ben to get healthy and to just take it as it comes. But, for it to be postponed a year gives us more of a build-up."
O'Dea said the ups and downs of his career so far had made him more resilient and better equipped to deal with unforeseen circumstances.
"Growing up and paying for a long time, you kind of hang your hat on 'I'm only going to be successful if I do this or get this result'. It took me a while to realise that's a really tough way to look at sport and there are things that can happen that are outside of your control - this is definitely one of them and it must be shattering for a lot of athletes.
"If you just focus on training, getting better and the journey, then when things like this happen it just becomes part of that journey."
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With the official word from the IOC the @olympics will be postponed to no later than summer 2021. As we all know decisions that impact so many people need to be well thought out and considered. The impact of Covid-19 on our World has meant we have had to make changes to look after each other. As we go into lock down in NZ, I can’t be more proud of our leader @jacindaardern and my country. I will be training as best to my ability over the next month in isolation along with many other athletes. We are now going into a new normal, so please look after everyone, be kind ❤️❤️Lisa
A post shared by Lisa Carrington (@liscarrington) on
Meanwhile, 30-year-old double Olympic champion Lisa Carrington, of Whakatāne, took to Instagram to share her thoughts.
"As we all know decisions that impact so many people need to be well thought out and considered. The impact of Covid-19 on our world has meant we have had to make changes to look after each other.
"As we go into lockdown in NZ, I can't be more proud of our leader Jacinda Ardern and my country. I will be training as best to my ability over the next month in isolation along with many other athletes. We are now going into a new normal, so please look after everyone, be kind."