News03 Apr 2020

The New Normal: Life in the time of coronavirus - 1-3 April


A lone jogger in London (© AFP/Getty Images)

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

Friday 3 April


COVID-19's financial backlash already has, or soon will, hit hard

19:15 - 3 April
More discussion about what this year's postponements, particularly the bonus-heavy Olympic Games, will mean to athletes' wallets.

In a CBC report analyzing the hit that Canadian Olympians can expect, Brian Levine, a sports marketing agent who works with sprinter Andre de Grasse, said:

"Just generally speaking, any of the higher-level professional track athletes are looking at five figures and, for some, six-figure losses for sure, based on the number of meets they would do in a season."

Canadian shot put record holder Brittany Crew also chimed in, adding:

It's "going to suck" if all the season's major meets are cancelled.

"Because that is definitely our income for most of the year. That's where you get your security blanket, that's a big loss of income for a lot of us athletes," she said.



Naert, a qualified nurse, waiting for the call

18:45 - 3 April
Koen Naert, the European marathon champion, is also a qualified health care provider, who worked full-time as a nurse until taking a career break to train for the Rio Olympics. But the 30-year-old Belgian will be happy to to return to his career as soon as the call is issued.

In a recent post for Spikes, Naert wrote:

It’s tough at times like this because I’m not only a nurse in the qualified sense; I’m a nurse in my heart. I want to be there in a time of need.

In Belgium the situation isn’t good, but it’s not yet as severe as other nations like Spain and Italy. Right now I’m not needed but if things get worse and worse, I’ll be on the list, ready to help.

Read the rest.


Budding athletics photographers, take note

18:30 - 3 April
Athletics journalist, photographer and commentator Paul Merca will be hosting a photographers Q&A on Zoom next week with athletics photographers Jeff Cohen, Alisha Lovrich and How Lao. He's inviting everyone to send him questions via Instagram. He'll then air the roundtable on his website.


Today's best discus throw from a circle on a dirt trail next to an abandoned football field?

Most likely this one by world decathlon champion Niklas Kaul.

View this post on Instagram

Techniktraining Feldweg Edition 🛸 #decathlon#adidas#sporthilfe#sporthilferlp

A post shared by Niklas Kaul (@_niklaskaul) on


ICYMI - Fraser-Price wants to read you a story...

Well, how's this for a rare treat to beat the stuck-at-home self-isolation blues?

In the latest installment of our Athletics@Home series, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, one of the finest sprinters of all time and once again the reigning world 100m champion, takes some time to read to us all from her children's book, 'I am a Promise'.

Watch it now.


Hill's 'Quarantine Cuisine'

12:00 - 3 April
More specifically, 'Feeding Streets - Quarantine Cuisine With Darrell Hill', a cooking programme with the 2016 Olympian, is coming to Facebook tomorrow, Saturday. We're guessing it's going to be a filling meal. FYI 12pm ET is 6pm CET.


Crouser on Tokyo move: 'Frustrating' but 'a good call'

9:03 - 3 April
Ryan Crouser will have to wait one more year to defend his Olympic title. After some initial frustration, he's quickly come to terms with the postponement.

Speaking with the Portland Tribune, Crouser said:

"I have mixed feelings (about the one-year delay)," Crouser said from his home in Fayetteville, Arkansas. "It's a little bit tough as an Olympic athlete; four years is a long time (between competitions). You're marking your calendar for the next time.

"It's frustrating because I felt I was in a good place, but it was a good call (to postpone). I will still have the opportunity to compete next year."

He also explained his improvisational training set-up after the facilities at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, where he works as a volunteer throws coach, closed:

"I found an older shot put ring in a grass field," he said. "I got an orbital sander and I've been grinding on (the ring) for a while. I got it down to some fresh concrete and have a decent surface on it now.

"It's uphill and real muddy. There is a lot of time spent cleaning off the shots and cleaning off my shoes, but I'm doing the best I can. I have a lot of time throughout the day, so my I can spend two, three, four hours out there throwing, working on little things."

Read the rest.


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 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)


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 "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."




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