WACO, Texas — When the International Olympic Committee made the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo games there was wide-spread disappointment from the athletes that have trained their whole lives for this opportunity.
Baylor Track and Field Head Coach Todd Harbour knows a little bit about what these athletes are going through. Harbour qualified for the 1980 Summer games in Moscow, but was never able to go because the United State Boycotted those games because of Russia’s involvement in Afghanistan.
“It was a difficult one because at that time we were all asked to kind of toe the company line and make sure we said the right things,” Harbour said. “There were a few athletes who spoke out but at the time we all thought, ‘okay this is a great decision, we need to support our government.'”
Harbour had a few Baylor athletes that hope to compete in Tokyo, and they still have that chance, something Harbour never got. What they don’t have is an opportunity to keep competing through this summer.
“I feel bad for these guys right now because there may be some meets this summer in Europe but there may not be,” he said. “The way things are going right now it’s just hard for them to continue to train without an Olympic game too so that’s another factor that factors into this.”
The Olympic athletes are in the same boat as the rest of Harbour’s athletes, uncertain about when they will get to compete again, but Harbour is encouraging them, from a distance, to keep training as if they were in season.
“The toughest thing is just knowing that we won’t see him for a while,” he said. “We’ve got to still keep them in shape, so we got to motivate them over the phone and do what we can do to make sure that they’re getting some work and as a result, not take three or four month break.”