With 2020 Tokyo Games postponed, athletes re-think training, retirement plans

Carli Lloyd.
(Image credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Athletes around the world are changing their plans now that the 2020 Tokyo Games have been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The official announcement came on Tuesday, with the International Olympic Committee saying the Games will be rescheduled "to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021." U.S. soccer star Carli Lloyd told the Los Angeles Times that delaying the Olympics was "the right decision to make," as this "unprecedented pandemic is bigger than sports. People's lives have been lost, the virus continues to spread, and our health care systems are overloaded."

Lloyd, 37, has played in three Olympics, and was going to wait until after Tokyo to "see where I was mentally and physically. I wasn't sure when I would officially retire. So now I have the opportunity to stick around for another year and it would be a dream come true to win gold with my teammates. That would be satisfying enough for me to officially retire."

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U.S. swimmer and Olympian Ryan Lochte told the Times he was disappointed to hear the Games were postponed because "I've been training my butt off and I've been feeling great," but "this whole thing is way bigger than me. It's way bigger than the Olympians. It's affecting the entire world right now."

The 35-year-old, who was suspended after the 2016 Olympics for lying about an incident that happened in Rio, said this won't push him into an early retirement. "There's still so much more I want to accomplish in this sport," he said. "I'm not going to let this get in the way of it. I guess I have to look at the positive side. I get another year of training and I can get stronger."

His fellow U.S. swimmer Nathan Adrian, who studied public health at the University of California, Berkeley, said it would have been "tragic to hold the Olympics given the circumstances." The 31-year-old has won gold before at the Olympics, and last year, he went through two surgeries for testicular cancer. He was looking forward to competing in the upcoming swimming trials, and will come up with a new game plan. "I am cognizant of the fact that public health and their interventions occasionally can be perceived to impinge on freedom," he said. "There's no doubt about that. But in a situation like this, the public health wins for me. Over and over."

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