It is 4 months to the start of the 2020 Olympic games that we have spent the last 4 years building towards, and in 4 days everything has changed. We have raced for our Olympic seats, had our national training centre completely closed down and moved to home training, sat on the steps of the gym and been told provisional selected crews for the Olympics, had the Prime Minister effectively put the country in lockdown, had it confirmed that Tokyo 2020 will be postponed until 2021, and lastly been told that selection no longer stands.
I didn’t really have an emotional reaction to the first five of those events, my go to response tends to be ‘okay’ and then getting on with whatever training session I have next, channelling my energy into moving forward and keeping routine. But being deselected has brought it full circle and I just feel deep exhaustion. The type that when you wake up after a long sleep even the tips of your fingers still feel tired. That tiredness that is more than just a result of a few tough days of training, but stems from an unseen internal battle to stay strong that has been raging underneath the surface over the last few months of Olympic selection processes.
I agree with every one of the decisions that has been made, and know that they were made with the best intentions at that moment in time. I know that what we do is just sport, and that all around me people are struggling to find bread and eggs to feed their families, losing jobs and businesses, worried about where their next pay check might come from, and most importantly are frightened for their health and the lives of those that they love who are more vulnerable. But I know that I also need to let myself reset.
As athletes, we push our physical, mental and emotional capacities to their limits on a daily basis, with the goal being to earn the right to represent our country on a level playing field with the rest of the world. And right now, doing best for our country means just the opposite. It means not training as a group and holding off a worldwide event amidst so much uncertainty, illness and loss around the world. It means staying home, serving our local neighbourhood and supporting our extended networks. It means putting our dreams on hold, knowing that if we can make a difference now and keep our passions alive in a different way, we will one day get to be part of an Olympic Games that truly will be like no other. An unprecedented games, 5 years training for the price of 4, where the world will unite and use sport to celebrate what humanity has pulled together to overcome. That is an Olympics that I want to be part of, whenever the world is ready.