First and foremost, I would like to acknowledge that Canada, and ultimately the IOC, made the RIGHT decision to postpone the Olympic Games. Safety is the most important thing right now, not just for athletes but for everyone around the world. Nonetheless, the last couple of weeks have been overwhelming and confusing. I’ve been reluctant to share my feelings because all the athletes around me seem to be “locked and loaded” for Tokyo 2021. Although the dream is still very much alive, I’m trying to give myself permission to grieve “what I thought would be” before I regroup and focus on what’s to come.
Every decision I’ve made in the last four years has been with Tokyo 2020 in mind. Decisions like moving to another country away from my support system, putting my Master’s degree on hold, living in a different state than my fiancé and picking myself back up time and time again after injury. This season has been far from what one would consider the ideal preparation for the Olympics. Because of sciatica pain, my fall and winter training were intermittent. As a result, a lot of people expected me to be relieved at the news that the Olympics were being postponed. Although the postponement of the Olympics may end up working in my favor, I am still just trying to process everything. For the past ten months, I’ve been focused on one thing and one thing alone: to be in Tokyo in July 2020. Everything I’ve done over the past year has been with a view of turning a lifelong dream into reality. I was ALL IN! I fought like I’ve never fought before. Just two days before Canada pulled out of the Olympics, I ran a personal best. I was moved to tears as I was thinking: “I’M BACK! I’VE GOT THIS!” But, in the snap of a finger, everything was taken away.
Everyone wants to know what my plans are. For now, I’m taking it one day at a time. I have good days and bad days and I’m getting comfortable with the idea that this is ok. I’m working on being kind to myself. I’m also allowing myself, for the first time in my life, to not rush to the finish line. I don’t have all the answers at the moment, but I know that everything will work out one way or another. I’ve re-enrolled in school. I will be completing my Master’s in Counseling Psychology. As for training, I was initially resistant to having to change the way I train. The news that the Olympic Qualification period has been postponed has definitely lifted a weight off my shoulders. I feel that I can finally switch the focus from performance to regaining 100% of my health.