The Olympic dreams of thousands of athletes are now on hold for at least another year after the International Olympic Committee decided to postpone the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo, but local athletes say they are comfortable with the decision to delay the games because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Jewell Loyd, a native of suburban Lincolnwood and a star basketball player for the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, says she understands the rationale behind postponing the Games, and wants to help turn a sad moment into a positive teaching moment.
“Right now as athletes, a lot of people look up to us,” she said. “So we’re doing the best job we can to let people know the severity of what’s going on.”
The IOC says it made the decision with the health and safety of athletes and spectators in mind.
Nearly 4,000 American athletes filled out a survey about their desired path forward for the Games in the midst of the pandemic, with nearly 7-in-10 saying that they didn’t think it would be fair, or ideal, to compete in July on what would likely be a condensed qualification and preparation schedule.
For Loyd, she says she will continue her preparations, looking to stay in shape not just for the coming basketball season but also for the possibility of suiting up for Team USA in 2021.
“Hearing the news and you work so hard all year to be in shape, it just continues into the following year, the mindset doesn’t change,” she said. “It’s a bummer because everyone is looking forward to it, not just me.”
Despite having her dreams of Olympic glory delayed, Loyd says there is a silver lining.
“It’s very special to be here and to see my family and stuff,” she said. “Now I’ll get time to rest. We don’t get to do that a lot.”