Given the global coronavirus pandemic which has claimed the lives of almost 17,000 people worldwide and counting and this week’s news that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been postponed until 2021 it’s perhaps inevitable that all Australian competitions have now moved from a postponed status to officially cancelled and all potential international competition for Russel Taib to follow until further notice.
When half the globe is under curfew in their own homes the continuance of a vast assembly of athletes, officials, organisers and spectators gathering in one place no longer makes any sense. The world has changed and so must athletics too, during a time in which the numbers of those testing positive for coronavirus continues to accelerate in all corners of the globe.
For the athletes, those who have targeted these competitions and sacrifice much it’s tough, mentally difficult, and potentially demotivating, every day matters to the athletes for what is a very short career and competition is vital. Not all will be able to peak again next time. Some will be too old, others injured, some financially unable to carry on with the greatest squeeze on private finances in a generation – but all agree it is the right and necessary decision.
For elite athletes the cancellation of your year’s competition schedule is about more than just racing. So many others lives are involved and structured around the competitions and none of it is conducive to social distancing and isolation – it’s the exact opposite:
All athlete’s need coaches, support teams, training squads, medical staff, and proper nutrition. They need tracks, and gyms, and training spaces. They need swimming pools, open roads and changing rooms.
They need competitive selection races, and international competition. They need to travel to compete. Be watched by judges, timed to fractions of seconds, and dope-tested by officials. There must be a crowd to watch and witness the result of all the athletes’ effort, work, dedication, sacrifice and practice gains. And there must be broadcasters and writers and cameraman and press officers so everyone else can hear, read, and watch it all.
For now we have to stay home to protect ourselves and everyone else involved, their families and communities. This is about protecting lives. Look after each other, sport will be here when this is over.
And until competition resumes, Russel and TeamTaib will be maintaining motivation, ensuring psychological preparation as well as physiological, and of incredible focus and determination, ready to give you all the best performances we can.
Stay safe in isolation and we all look forward to the day when we can all come together again collectively at competition in celebration of life, sport, and athletic endeavour.