With the announcement today that Tokyo was postponing the 2020 Olympics until 2021, there was a sigh of relief around the world. Relief, primarily, in the fact that now athletes and coaches and their entourages could now plan.
Canada had already withdrawn from the event. And for others, tackling the uncertainty of whether the event would or would not take place took back seat to simply thinking about how athletes could compete in trials, train and travel during this time as COVID-19 is forcing so many to self-isolate.
One of those in self-isolation, of sorts, is Elle Purrier. The 25-year-old fleft her New Balance team in Boston to come home to work on the family farm in Montgomery, Vt. and spend time with her fiance, Jamie St. Pierre, whose family owns a neighboring dairy farm.
In February, Purrier broke the American record for running a mile — a record that has stood since Mary Decker set it 37 years ago. She also has finished 11th in the 1500 meters in the World Championship — a distance she was likely to compete in at the Olympics. Purrier, who just joined the New Balance team after graduating from the University of New Hampshire (where she was the winningest NCAA athlete in the school’s history), was just gaining her stride in international competitions. “I still have so much to learn and it was great to be at the World’s with all these people I’ve looked up to,” she told Vermont Sports this past January, when she was named one of the magazine’s Athletes of the Year.
Still, it was hard to hide the disappointment. As she posted on her social media accounts:
For Lea Davison, the 36-year-old mountain biker from Jericho who has competed in two Olympics (finishing 7th and 11th), it was also a bitter pill. Davison has been training hard and competing against a field of younger women, including World Champion Kate Courtney, 24, for a spot in Tokyo. At home in Southern Vermont where she lives with her wife, Frazier, now, Davison posted this to her Instagram account :
However, she hasn’t lost her sense of humor. Just a few days earlier, her Twitter post included this:
Thank heavens for small victories in times like these.
[Opening photo: Lea Davison competing in 2016]