USA athletes react to Olympic Training Center closure


COLORADO SPRINGS – The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo are scheduled as planned in July, but this week, athletes at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs received word all training venues are closed until April 30 amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“At this point, it’s just stress. That’s really all we have,” two-time Olympian and USA gymnastics men’s team member Sam Mikulak said. “There’s so much that goes into preparing for the games and now we have no where to go for a month. After that, you have to get ready for it. There’s just so much that’s going on in all of our minds.”

Mikulak is calling for future events to be postponed as he said so many athletes are at a disadvantage.

“It’s just hurting the equality and fairness of the sport,” he said. “Nothing is fair, nothing is equal. Everyone needs to put this behind us before we can take the necessary steps to prepare us for a big competition like our trials or the Olympic games. We can’t just take a month off then come back and be just as good as we were before. No one is going to be at their best, and people want to watch the Olympics when people are at their best.”

Sam Achterberg, on the USA Pentathlon team, has already qualified for the 2020 Olympics, but now has to find a way to stay ready for July.

“I have to try to figure out a way to make it work, figure out a way to get it done,” Achterberg said. “Make an at-home gym, just get out there. I tried to make it out there in the rain, and I got stuck, and it sucked, but I still got out there and got my workout in.”

As far as reaching out to the International Olympics Committee on potentially delaying the games, which have a scheduled start of July 24 and run until August 9, Mikulak said he thinks everyone has already said their part.

“I know there is going to be a time where they’re going to need to pull the plug and I do feel like that’s probably coming soon,” he said. “However, if the games still do go on and we don’t get to train for a month and a half. I can’t imagine how those games will actually look and it just doesn’t seem right.”

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