DETROIT – The Japanese government is denying a report in a British newspaper that it’s considering canceling the already postponed Summer Olympics.
The venues for the Olympics are ready, but COVID-19 has Japanese hospitals at their max. The Olympic host city, Tokyo, is under a state of emergency.
More than 11,000 athletes from more than 200 nations compete in 33 sports during the Olympics.
“Nobody really knows. I’m hopeful that they’ll be able to have some version. Even if it’s, you know, without spectators or something. Where people can go out there and compete. Because everybody’s worked so hard for this,” Olympic Gold Medalist Peter Vanderkaay said.
Vanderkaay understands what’s on the line for the athletes. They’re training for games that have already been postponed and could still be postponed further.
“I just have to be optimistic and hope that, especially now with the vaccines rollout out and stuff that, you know, a safe Olympic Games can take place. So, you know, I’m just training as hard as I always would have and just staying hopeful. Because that’s all I can do right now,” weightlifter Katherine Nye said.
Tiffany Porter is a hurdler who trains with her sister Cindy Sember at the University of Michigan. Both compete in 100 meter hurdles for Great Britain.
“I think if it doesn’t happen this summer, it’s just going to be canceled out so that would be disappointing. But, I mean, people’s lives and, you know, getting this pandemic kind of under control is a lot more important than sport. But, you know, fingers crossed that they both can happen simultaneously,” Porter said.
The training looks different, but athletes are hopeful they’ll get a chance to represent their country this summer.
Allison Schmitt from Canton is working to make the Olympic team for the fourth time.
“We can only control what we can control. And that’s being able to go practice and we’re fortunate to be able to do that,” Schmitt said.
The next crucial date could be March 25th. That’s when the Olympic Torch begins its journey across Japan.