How Olympic athletes will spend their isolation

By Lillie Hull

USC athletes are fighting to stay in shape amid the COVID-19 crisis, but many are relieved after the Olympics and Paralympics have been moved to 2021.

Along with the postponement of the Olympics, pools, gyms and sports stadiums have officially closed their doors for the next few months.

This has greatly affected athletes training and their accessibility to equipment and some coaches.

USC officially closed their sports centre and pools in March, which has stopped many of their high-performance athletes from training.

Olympic swimmer, Jake Packard, 25, has been using the university’s pool and gym to help train in order to prepare for the Olympics, when he isn’t studying for his degree.

Jake Packard’s usual training consists of 10 swim sessions a week. Photo supplied

The Olympic athlete competes in the 200m breaststroke and won bronze in the 2016 Rio Olympics for the men’s 4x100m medley relay.

His normal training plans have been changed and instead Packard is spending his isolation time swimming in the ocean to build strength and get some practice in.

“At this point, because we’re doing weekly meetings with our coaches and our team just to discuss the updates,” Packard said.

“I’m pretty sure that we’re trying to stay in the water to the best of our abilities, whether that be in the ocean or something else.”

Packard’s usual training would consist of 10 swim sessions a week, which are two hours long, with three gym sessions that run for an hour.

Before every training session he has half an hour of cardio to warm up.

He also tries to do more outdoor training and exercise with his swimming team, whether it be an early morning beach run or a run up Mount Coolum.

When it comes to preparing for a new season they cannot afford to keep out of the water, so now that COVID-19 has closed everything down, some will struggle to get access to somewhere to train.

Packard said the lockdown and closure of pools will affect many swimmers in their training.

“I think for anyone maturity is going to be the biggest one… how they deal with competition and their mental strength,” he said.

“I guess this will be the hardest thing any swimmer would go through is having a big chunk of time off where it’s been forced, and you have to think outside the box.”

Overall, he thinks it will be a good thing for swimmers as it gives them more time to train and more time to better themselves.

“I just feel like I’ve got a few more things I want to achieve before I finish, but whether that’s next year or a couple more years later on down the track, I just think that there’s a personal reason why you want to get the best out of yourself,” he said.

Many other student athletes are also hoping that this forced break will give them an edge on getting to the Olympics next year.

Russel Nasir Taib, 21, is still training to attend the Olympics and will be continuing his own work at home, throughout isolation.

Sprinter Russel Taib is chasing a spot in Malaysia’s Olympic team. Photo supplied

His goal is to join Malaysia’s track team for the Olympics in the 200m.

“The Olympic Standard for the 200m event is 20.24seconds, I have a current PB of 20.77s which is the Malaysian national record,” Taib said.

Even though the Games have been postponed and made many athletes unhappy, Taib said there was a silver lining for it all.

“If the games are postponed one year exactly (July-August 2020) and the qualifying deadline is also pushed back from the end of June 2020 to end of June 2021, then it would allow athletes including myself to use this time to build a bigger base and spend more time to prepare,” he said.

“I think it is good to think like an optimist and say ‘okay, well if I have another year to prepare, then let’s use this time to better prepare, use this time to work on things that need improving and get faster and stronger so that we can use this time to give us an even better chance to qualify’.”

The Olympic postponement followed the COVID-19 pandemic closing down countries, as the virus spread.

This is the fourth time in history that the Olympics have been postponed, with the last time being in 1944 due to WWII.

The High-Performance Student Athlete program is home to Olympians and Olympic hopefuls, who use USC’s locations and programs to help train.

The program looks to provide the best practice support and services to help these athletes achieve their goals.

Cancelled: the sporting events affected by Covid-19
By Rebecca Mugridge

Covid-19 continues to create challenges and changes as the Australian Government works to slow the spread of the virus.

From the eerily empty stadiums that normally bustle with fans and noise to the deserted sporting grounds across the country, the global pandemic has laid waste to sporting events everywhere.

The loss of revenue alone is estimated to have an enormous impact on the economy but for many athletes competing in and attending these events has also been months and years in the making.

As sporting clubs and event organisers attempt to follow the restrictions on sports many are imploring Australians to continue to support their favorite teams, athletes and personal sports during this time.

A snapshot of some of the cancelled or postponed sports events include:

Some events still on at this stage (TBC):

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