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Olympic Athletes React to Tokyo 2020 Postponement: “Same Fire, New Dates”

By Jordan Green

Its official, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with the support of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, has chosen to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to no later than the summer of 2021. For most, this news isn’t surprising, as the global coronavirus pandemic shows no sign of slowing.

Those most affected by the announcement are the athletes themselves who have tirelessly trained for the Games. How are they taking the news of this postponement, and how will it affect their condition going forward to the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games?

Diving In

Olympic medal winner Tom Daley of Great Britain took the postponement of the in stride. In a recent Instagram post he highlights the fact that waiting another year is well worth it for the achievement of one’s dreams. Ending his statement by saying he will work his tail off in order to make Team GB proud, the 24-year-old diver won a Bronze medal alongside Daniel Goodfellow in the synchronized 10m platform dive at Rio 2016.

Keeping the Dream Alive

In a simple but powerful video, 23-year-old American gymnast Alec Yoder updated his dream board from Olympics 2020 to Olympics 2021. In this short 6-second video clip one can gain an understanding of the resolve it takes to compete at an Olympic level. No time to be bogged down with bad news, always looking forward and adapting to the changing situation.

Same Fire, New Dates

In another short Instagram post, British sprinter, and the fastest British woman in recorded history, Dina Asher-Smith showed the same levels of determination and focus as Yoder. “Same fire, new dates” was the message, before telling everyone to stay safe. This athlete has already embraced the 2021 hashtag, showing a full commitment to the Olympics that are still to come.


Japanese sports climber Noguchi Akiyo took to Instagram to write a long post in both Japanese and English expressing her views on this postponement. She says that the uncertainty of the postponement left her without words, but as a true Olympian, she says she will use this time in order to strengthen her mind and body for the upcoming 2021 Olympic Games. Akiyo may be one to watch as she is determined to not waste this time the postponement has given her.

View this post on Instagram

The historical breaking news of the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 came into me. I really can’t find the right way to control my mind. During this hard time, I can rather stay positive because I can climb longer until the last game starts. Tokyo2020 is truly my finals. Now we must fight against the disaster that the world is facing. I wish all the best for the future Tokyo2020. I will spend the time I have given to be stronger in both physically and mentally way because I want to be one of the most excited people who wish the game to be the most successful ever. —————————————— オリンピックの延期という史上初の報道を受け、まだ整理がつかないというのが正直なところです。 しかし、8月の東京五輪を集大成に位置付けていた私にとって、大好きな競技生活が1日でも長く過ごせる事をポジティブに捉えています。 今は、世界中が直面しているこの状況を1日でも早く乗り越え、楽しみにしているオリンピックが東京で開催されることを願うと共に、その大会を盛り上げる1人になれるよう、心身共に成長する時間にしていきます。 クライミングを通じて少しでもみなさんに元気をお届けできますように! ——————————————— #tokyo2020 #tokyo2021 #olympics @tokyo2020 @team_nippon @au_official #大和証券 #セブンイレブン @thenorthfacejp @raffinee_orientalbio #三井不動産 @cowsoapcp #zeta @c3fit @lasportivajp @petzl_official @newhale_japan

A post shared by NoguchiAkiyo / 野口啓代 / のぐちあきよ (@noguchi_akiyo) on

Nishikori Speaks

Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori took to Instagram to post a video about his feelings about the current coronavirus, the Olympic postponement and how it will be moving forward. The video is only available in Japanese, but starts with Nishikori talking about his troubles in Florida, where he is currently training, and the lack of items in the supermarket making the situation difficult at times, but commenting that he is “still able to practice somehow.”

In watching the news, Nishikori commented that he was “nervous as he thought [the Olympics] were going to be canceled.” As it is only postponed, he was happy that he would have a chance to play in the Games. He followed up by saying that “they’ve been given another chance in a year,” and that he will “use this time to train and return [to the tennis court] stronger than ever.”

Lastly, he speaks briefly of the coronavirus, saying that the situation is bad and he hopes that soon it will all be over and life can return to normal.

Feature Image: lev radin /