A week ago today, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics would be postponed.
For a few days before the announcement, there was a lot of false hope surrounding the Olympics. Media outlets were reporting positive messages from Japan about the Olympics whilst other sporting events were shutting down all around us.
In my mind it was the only decision that could be made and 100% support it. As I said in my recent Instagram post, 'Sport is important but it can wait. Saving lives can't wait. Stay at home.'
Covid-19 has well and truly taken over 2020 and got a big old grip on the world. It's time to adapt and overcome.
From an athletes point of view, I have mixed views about this decision.
Part of me feels relieved. Relived at the fact I no longer have the rather large stress of training hanging over my head. The performance pressure valve has just been released. Training is most definitely possible in isolation (see the millions of home workouts popping up left, right and centre on Instagram!) however it's far from optimal. Under difficult circumstances, I was trying to train as normal as I could thinking I might be performing at the Olympic Games in just over 4 months.
Part of me feels disappointed (obviously). Our hockey programme revolves around the Olympics. Everything we do is geared around getting ourselves in the best mental, physical and emotional shape possible at that Olympic Games. It feels a bit like all the work we've put in over the past year has been a waste; the dreaded heat chamber work (click here), all the fitness sessions, all the hours spent on the pitch, all the hours spent watching video, all the hours in the gym. All those hours seem wasted. I know they are not. I try to tell myself the pause button has been pressed rather than the stop button.
Part of me feels very optimistic. I see it as another year to get better both individually and collectively. It will be really good to get another year or so under my belt playing again. Before COVID-19 took over, I felt like I was getting back to my best but not there yet. Im looking forward to an extra year to work on my weaknesses and strengthen my strengths. As a team, I felt we were on an upward curve in terms of performance. Competition for places was at its highest for the first time in a long time – players were fit, performing well, pushing each other forward and, ultimately, giving the team the best shot at medalling in Tokyo this summer. The more time we can have together to gel, learn and improve under Mark Hagar the better.
Dates for Tokyo 2020 (or is it Tokyo 2021?!) have now been released giving athletes a new long term goal to aim for.
Looking shorter term however, priorities have certainly changed. The goal posts have shifted. Life is not as we know it.
#Refocus is the buzz word pranging around on social media. Here are some points to keep our minds healthy whilst practising social distancing.
My focus has been on:
- keeping well and healthy
- helping to keep others well and healthy
- reconnecting with friends and family (using Zoom!). Lots of quizzes, house parties and video calling people including my Gran
- completing tasks Ive put on hold for 6+ months. Paperwork, deep cleaning my fridge, sorting out cupboards and the like
- mixing up my training routines with different equipment. Kettlebells, a skipping rope, a TRX and a weighted vest are my favourites at the moment.
- playing various games - UNO, Rummikub, Dobble, S**thead
- sitting down with a proper breakfast and proper cup of coffee
- playing MindFeud (aka scrabble vs others)
For the time being, it's about taking one day at a time. Adapt and overcome. Don't change the goal, change the plan.
Stay safe. Stay home. Stay active. Save our NHS.