The coronavirus puts a 1500 year old tradition on hold as well as many local sports

Brooke Leslie

On March 24, the decision was made to postpone the 2020 Summer Olympics. Although most Redwood students are not training for the Olympics, many Redwood athletes have also lost their seasons due to COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus. Olympic veterans, as well as young Olympians, have been devastated by this decision as they have trained for years in the hopes of earning a spot on the pedestal for their country. These plans have been delayed for a year in what is both a blessing but also a long-lasting curse. 

Photo Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

In a New York Times article called Olympians Have Another Year to Prepare for Tokyo, Steele Johnson, a diver for Team USA, explained the misery he faced when he discovered the 2020 Olympics had been postponed. “[My wife and I] had a very, very tough year financially…I don’t know if I could keep up a lifestyle like this for another 12 to 15 months of just diving without getting a full-time job,” Steele said. He and his wife have since been struggling to make ends meet with his lack of sponsors and his wife being a wedding photographer. 

Not only have Olympians like Steele been struggling financially, but they are also forced to make tough decisions because of their age. The U.S. women’s swimming coach, Greg Meehan, told the New York Times, “the postponement left talented high school seniors with a tough choice: forgo college for another year and train exclusively for the Olympics or juggle training and the stresses of freshman year.” 

Photo Courtesy of The New York Times
Katie Ledecky, left.

While some see the postponement as a strong negative, other Olympians see the additional year as a positive. Katie Ledecky, a swimmer for the U.S. women’s team, expressed the bigger picture of this situation in a post on Twitter after the postponement was announced.

As we stand together to meet today’s challenges, we can dream about a wonderful Olympics in a beautiful country. Now is the time to support all those working to heal the sick and keep us all healthy,” Ledecky said. 

Ledecky’s priorities are having the world heal faster from the epidemic as well as using this time as another year of growth.

Redwood students have also suffered the repercussions of the coronavirus in their own sports, such as senior Lucy Walsh. Walsh has played on the varsity volleyball team since her freshman year and has played club volleyball at Absolute Volleyball Club for numerous years as well. This year was going to be her last season before heading to Santa Clara University to continue her volleyball career. Due to the coronavirus, the majority of Walsh’s final season has been lost. 

“My last season was supposed to be special. I have played volleyball my whole life and this year was supposed to be closure and I have looked up to it ever since I started playing for Absolute. What I didn’t know was that my last tournament really could have been my last,” Walsh said

Greg Jungferman
Lucy walsh setting during the Redwood volleyball season.


Walsh’s team is preparing for the Junior Olympics which was postponed until June, but there is no assurance that it will actually happen this year due to the coronavirus.

Senior athletes have not only struggled due to the damage the coronavirus has inflicted on their club seasons, but their Redwood sports seasons as well.  For example, the Redwood track season has been put in jeopardy as their meets have been postponed until further notice. The team spirit on the track team has always been a favorite for sophomore Helena Janku. 

“The energy on the team is always so exciting. The best part of track has always been the meets because the whole team works toward a goal while having so much fun. It is just so hard to think that this season might be taken away from us with so short notice…It just makes training feel like it was all for nothing,” Janku said.

As death tolls continue to rise with no foreseen end,  coronavirus continues to cause both Olympic athletes and high school athletes alike to wonder what comes next for them in their athletic careers.