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The New Normal: Life in the time of coronavirus

Welcome to The New Normal: life in the time of coronavirus, where we'll be sharing stories and updates about how athletes are adjusting to and coping with the spread of COVID-19. We'll be providing updates regularly and daily and encourage athletes to get in touch so we can share their stories, too.

Previous updates:
20-22 March
23-25 March
26-28 March
29-31 March

Updates by Jon Mulkeen and Bob Ramsak

Thursday 2 April


Spotakova: retirement decision to come later this year

15:20 - 2 April
Like many athletes who are approaching the evergreen stages of their careers, Barbora Spotakova was hoping to make one more Olympic appearance in Tokyo this year. In her case, a fifth to chase a third gold medal. But at 38, a decision to extend her career one more year isn't one to make lightly.

Inside The Games reports:

"I will see in the autumn and I believe the motivation will come," Špotáková told Czech newspaper Deník.

"I am optimistic but at the moment there is no right time to decide.

"However, I have a young coach and the cooperation is working very well so it is definitely not a worry that I am looking forward to the end.

"It is a good cooperation, so I can imagine continuing into the next year."

Read the rest.


USATF launches Covid19 public service announcement

13:30 - 2 April
Remember the Brady Bunch? This PSA, which features several team USA athletes, will refresh your memory. Very nicely done!


'Dreams don't die' - Claye dedicates song to athletes whose Olympic dreams have been postponed

11:00 - 2 April
Triple jumper Will Claye, a Two-time world indoor champion and twice Olympic silver medallist spent some of his recent downtime working and recording a new song, 'Dreams don't die', a tribute to Olympic athletes during the Covid-19 pandemic which forced the Tokyo Olympics to be delayed from 2020 to 2021.

Says Claye: "The dream may be delayed but it's only allowing the fire inside of us to grow bigger."

Watch and listen.



Wednesday 1 April


How Tuliamuk’s 2020 plans have changed

19:15 - 1 April
The US Olympic Marathon Trials was one of the last big competitions to take place before international athletics action was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Aliphine Tuliamuk won the women’s race that day and had been looking forward to making her Olympic debut later this year. She spoke to womensrunning.com about how her plans for the next 18 months have changed.

Aliphine Tuliamuk

"My partner Tim Gannon and I were scheduled to visit to Kenya in April. It would have been my first time seeing my family in over three years, and Tim’s first visit to Kenya. I can hardly describe how hard it is to be so far from home for so long. Not weeks or months, but years. Not getting this opportunity to see my family after my Olympic dream came true is crushing.

"Tim and I had planned to start a family at the end of this year. Now, with the Olympics rescheduled for July 2021, I have had to make a choice between having a child—and go into the Olympics in less than peak fitness—or wait another one and a half years, which feels like eternity. This is a very personal decision, but as a professional athlete it’s one that also impacts a lot of people around me."

Full story

One positive, however, is that Tuliamuk has now been able to find time to crochet more beanies to restock her Etsy store.


Tsukahara contracts coronavirus

17:55 - 1 April
Former sprinter Naoki Tsukahara, who earned Olympic silver in 2008 as the lead-off runner in Japan’s 4x100m team, has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

The 34-year-old, who retired from competitive athletics in 2016, is an advisor for the Fujitsu corporate team.

Naoki Tsukahara

Full article (in Japanese)


Getting wed in a socially-distanced world

16:00 - 1 April
There may not have been dozens of people at the ceremony, but that didn't dampen the day that Pan-American Games 1500m champion Nikki Hiltz married her partner, Therese Haiss.

"We realised life is short, why wait for a pandemic to end to say I do?," Hiltz posted on Instagram. "I can’t wait for this quarantine to be over so we can celebrate our love with the world. Until then, here’s to forever with my best friend."

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Nikki Hiltz (@nikkihiltz) on


From quarantine casual to track ready

15:40 - 1 April
All it takes is the virtual passing of a running spike and these leading US athletes are magically ready to set foot on a track.


How the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics could heal a post-coronavirus world

13:30 - 1 April
Canadian Olympian Bruce Kidd, who is now a professor of kinesiology at the University of Toronto, says the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics should bring the world back together in a reinvigorated spirit of Olympism — the ideal that sport should be conducted at the service of humane social development, international understanding and peace.

1964 Olympics

"I competed in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo," he wrote on theconversation.com. "The Games were staged as the culmination of a multi-year plan to rebuild Tokyo and Japanese society after the devastation of the Second World War, two atom bombs and the subsequent US occupation.

"The organisers built beautiful new stadiums and parks, opened new highways and introduced dramatic new technology like colour television and the high-speed bullet train. They revitalised sports, physical education and workplace fitness and recreation right across the country.

"I am confident that if the Tokyo Games were repositioned as a celebration of Olympism, it would not take away from the athleticism of the Games."




Tuesday 31 March


Morris taking matters into her own hands... and feet

23:30 - 31 March
With her training options now extremely limited, world indoor champion Sandi Morris set about making her own neighbourhood pole vault pit.

It's still early days, though, and she is yet to master the art of a sledgehammer...


Campbell's garden marathon

22:20 - 31 March
It started as a simple tweet, but it soon took on a life of its own.

"10,000 retweets & I’ll run a marathon in my back garden," tweeted former British javelin champion James Campbell. "It’s about 6 metres long."

James Campbell's garden

Five hours later, Campbell's post had surpassed 10,000 retweets (and, at the time of this post, has now been retweeted almost 23,000 times).

Campbell, who holds the Scottish javelin record at 80.38m and has competed at various international championships, has stayed true to his word and will embark on his garden marathon on Wednesday 1 April - which also happens to be his birthday.

He tweeted a follow-up video to explain that he'll do it to help raise funds for Britain's National Health Service. There will also be a live stream of his run, which he has named the #6metregardenmarathon


No rest for Banks in lockdown

18:40 - 31 March
Former triple jump world record-holder Willie Banks has found ways of filling his time while being stuck at home.

Willie Banks

The World Athletics Council member has focused on raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. And when he's not doing that, he's most likely doing a bit of zumba in his living room.

"One thing that has helped me through this scare is volunteering and giving back to the community," he told the Times of San Diego. "I have dedicated a part of this time to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I have been asked to join a group of San Diegans to help raise money through a program called Man and Woman of the Year.

"I try to keep active at home. I cleared a place in the family room so that my wife and I can do our workout. I love to do Zumba, so I do my class several times each week along with walking the neighborhood."


RIP Jordan Pearson, 1950-2020

13:40 - 31 March
Former sprinter Pearson Jordan, who represented Barbados in the 100m and 4x100m at the 1976 Olympic Games, has died from coronavirus at the age of 69.

It is believed he could be the first Olympian to die from COVID-19.


Time for Thiam

13:30 - 31 March
Olympic heptathlon champion Nafi Thiam was relieved to hear that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics would be postponed a year.

Having battled a persistent elbow injury in recent years, the extra time will allow her niggles to fully heal before the defence of her Olympic title next year.

Nafi Thiam

"There is now even more time for this elbow," she told sport.be. "I have no more excuses not to go to Tokyo with a perfect technique for throwing the javelin beyond 60 metres."




Previous updates:
The New Normal: Life in the time of coronavirus 20-22 March
The New Normal: Life in the time of coronavirus 23-25 March
The New Normal: Life in the time of coronavirus 26-28 March
The New Normal: Life in the time of coronavirus 29-31 March