The Olympics, planned for just a few months’ time, will now not go ahead this year, and will be rescheduled for 2021. The postponement means that plans will change for hundreds of athletes, including four hopeful vegans.
Australian Morgan Mitchell has been looking forward to representing her nation in the 400 metres for the second time, running individually and in the relay. Morgan has been national champion twice and has recently been running some of the fastest times in Australian history, but the vegan will have to wait another year for another chance at the world’s biggest games.
Heavyweight boxer Cam Awesome turned vegan in 2012 and has been successful around the world, but not yet at the Olympics. Aiming to represent Trinidad & Tobago he recently won the trials, but the future is unclear for the man who has won at least 13 US national titles.
“Postponement of the Olympics is a little heart-breaking” Cam told Great Vegan Athletes “…such is life! I have some experience in the ‘planning on going to the Olympics but it not working out’ department. One could say I’ve been training the last 16 years for this to happen.”
For Cam the postponement is another chapter in an odd relationship with the Olympics. In 2012 he missed the games after failing to file the paperwork which would have led to a drug test and incurring a ban.
In 2016 he won the US Olympic trials. His international ranking meant he qualified for a further set of qualifiers, where a loss unexpectedly ended his road to the games.
“No one knows how this will unfold” he says. “Personally, I’m not 100% sold on the Olympics being postponed. It doesn’t seem feasible at all, but it does seem like a band-aid for now. Being that they have already been planning the 2028 Olympics is a sign that this isn’t one of those things you can throw together last minute like it’s a school dance.”
Cam is working on other interests including a training course which will help deal with the widespread issue of athletes facing financial obstacles to success.
“What better time for athletes to develop skills outside of their sport that can lead to financial freedom than now? I’m in talks with a few Olympic sports about introducing this program to their Olympic athletes.”
“Gotta stay sane and productive during this time!”
At 32 we hope there’s plenty more in terms of boxing success from Cam too.
Someone who appears unconcerned at the postponement is US soccer star Alex Morgan. Heavily pregnant at the time of writing, the vegan represented her country in both the 2012 games (helping the team win Gold) and the 2016 games. Alex planned to return to the squad just weeks after giving birth.
“Overall it’s just the right decision,” she said in an interview. “I tried to look at it more from a team perspective, but I couldn’t help but think of myself with all of the stress that’s going on from the coronavirus on top of trying to get back in shape in such a short amount of time.”
This year has already proved impressive for track athlete Andreas Vojta. Since July 2019 the Austrian has taken national Gold over 5000 metres and Silver over 1500. He won the 5000 metres in the European Team Championships, and when running at his unfavoured 1500 metre distance recorded the 3rd fastest time of the year. The Olympics offered a great opportunity.
“Of course the postponement is not easy as an athlete but it was the only right decision in the end” Andreas reflects. “Already two weeks before the official announcement of it I was 99% sure that we would not see Olympic Games this year. Back home here in Austria we were already having solid restrictions and it became clear to me that especially a fair preparation for all athletes would not be possible under these circumstances.”
Andreas had to cancel a training camp in the US and a race in May, but feels the priority should be safety. He has managed to keep training.
“Due to the closing of all sport places (including tracks) in Austria I´m currently training alone on the streets and dirt roads in my home town. Luckily I´m still having a lot of training possibilities as a runner compared to others like sprinters or swimmers. I also do a lot of home workouts and even livestream them two times a week on my YouTube channel.
“In the end my family and the sport keeps me going during these challenging times and I hope everyone stays home and stays safe!”
Great Vegan Athletes wishes all the athletes – of all standards and readers – a safe and healthy isolation. We look forward to returning to bringing you news of their continued success.