With the Olympics Games postponed until 2021, a group of athletes around the world will all face the same question – can they manage another year's training?
The Tokyo Games were officially set back on Wednesday morning (NZT) due to the ongoing threat the coronavirus pandemic has posed across the world. While for many, having to wait until 2021 to compete on one of the sporting world's biggest stages simply means another year of preparations, for some the discussion about how to move forward will be a little tougher.
Some athletes were set to head into the Games as veterans likely looking at their last appearance. For example, 41-year-old Kiwi rowing legend Mahe Drysdale was working towards qualification in the single sculls for the fourth straight time in the hope of adding to his collection of two golds and a bronze medal in the discipline.
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Speaking to the Radio Sport Breakfast, fellow Kiwi rowing star Eric Murray said for aging athletes the discussion on whether or not to continue is a genuine question.
"It's going to be a mixed emotion for different people. For some it's their first or second Olympics, for others – take Mahe from example – it's number five," Murray said. "He's probably looking at next year thinking 'crikey, I'm going to be another year older.'
"There's a whole group of people who were coming back for one more go at it and now they're like 'do I carry on for another year or do I not?' There's probably a huge amount of difference between emotions for different people because of that fact people were on a countdown until they were finished and could retire, while there's other people that look at it like: 'you know what, another year, I'm going to be another year stronger and wiser.' It could be more beneficial."
Murray was in a similar position four years ago at the Games in Rio de Janeiro, where he and teammate Hamish Bond were looking to secure back to back Olympic gold in the men's coxless pair. Murray retired after the Games, in which the pair did win their second gold medal, while Bond has continued to compete.
Bond was hopeful of qualifying for this year's Games as part of the men's eight, and told Radio Sport's Andrew Alderson the change in dates won't change his plans.
"We were training as if the Olympics were going ahead up until the beginning of the week," Bond said. "When it was announced that we were going into lockdown it became clear that was going to have to stop and it became more and more likely that the Olympics were going to be delayed.
"I think I'll carry on as if I will be attending, certainly in the first instance. I think, again, it's important to remember they're talking about delaying it 12 months, but that's obviously making some assumptions around how the next 12 months go.
"Either way it's important for my own sanity to keep training and to keep doing something because I don't think there are too many things worse physically or mentally than training more or less two or three times a day to completely doing nothing for four weeks or longer. An element of training will still be a big part of my day and whether that's working to a specific date in 2021 or perhaps further ahead, that's how I'll approach it – one day at a time."