TWENTY20 Olympic Athletes Shift Gears Towards Tokyo 2021


With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics recently postponed due to the Coronavirus crisis, Team TWENTY20’s Olympic hopefuls have had to adapt and delay their dreams until 2021. Below are the Team’s reactions to the postponement.

The analogy of shifting gears couldn’t be more relevant than during the unexpected times we find ourselves in. While in the immediate sense our focus is on staying healthy and supporting our athletes, partners, friends, and families as we navigate this new normal, we are actively looking ahead to ensure we stay the course for success as a world-class professional cycling team.
 
With the announcement to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games to 2021, it is critical that we listen to the perspectives of our athletes and empathize with how three years of training, preparation, positioning, qualifications, and results have led to various opportunities as individuals and as a team both on and off the bike. While we understand the challenges before us, we also see a tremendous opportunity to reframe the coming year and to embrace the fluidity that will be required to lead in this different landscape.
 
We find ourselves in a unique position to harness the flexibility, courage and power of our athletes, and all that we can bring to the table for our partners, team, and the greater cycling community. This is a time to ensure we all stay motivated, engaged, happy, and bring our energy to those around us whether on the road or through various channels of communication.
 
As we chart a new course towards Tokyo 2021, we are committed to maintaining an acute focus on performing at the highest level. The cycling community is lucky to have Zwift to provide such a dynamic training and racing platform, and our Team Twenty20 Olympic athletes will take full advantage of the opportunity to remain engaged and also compete on Zwift.
 
While the exact road to Tokyo is uncertain at this time with race cancellations, questions around the qualifications protocol, and otherwise, we do have four athletes heading to Tokyo and three awaiting their opportunities to qualify. Chloé Dygert (USA), Jennifer Valente (USA), Jasmin Duehring (CAN), and Georgia Simmerling (CAN) have already qualified in team pursuit and individual time trial. Lea Davison (USA), Sofia Arreola (MEX) and Jamie Whitmore (USA) are looking to qualify at events in the coming months.

The postponement of the Olympic Games is the best option due the current circumstances and I fully support the decision made today by the IOC and Tokyo Organizing Committee. Postponing the Games gives every athlete around the world the opportunity to focus on their well-being and provides us all a fair chance to properly prepare, so we can be at our best when the Games begin. While we navigate these uncertain times, an Olympic Games in 2021 will give us all hope and the opportunity to come together in celebration of good health. Personally, I am happy that the IOC and TOC made this decision sooner rather than later because it allows me to adjust my schedule and refocus on the goals I’ve set for myself. I’m excited to get back to racing, looking forward to Tokyo 2021, and wishing everyone a safe 2020.

Chloé Dygert (USA) TWENTY20 Pro Cycling

The postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is certainly disappointing but in light of the ongoing pandemic it’s the right decision. This time will allow athletes to focus on doing their part in keeping communities safe, and ensure that no one is unfairly disadvantaged by the extent to which they are affected during this time. While I am fortunate to reside in California and be able train without too much interruption, the same is certainly not true for competitors around the world that live in less favorable climate or have restrictions in place to limit their time outside. There would be no feeling of victory in triumphing over my competition under such circumstances. Instead, I look forward to the Tokyo 2020 games taking place next year and being able to celebrate not only sport but a global victory against this pandemic.

– Jasmin Duehring (CAN) TWENTY20 Pro Cycling

I really think the IOC made the correct decision. It was a decision focused around the health and wellbeing of the athletes and the globe in general. Obviously, the whole situation is a little bit overwhelming, but my goals have remained the same. I still have the Olympic dream and I will continue to pursue it however that looks from here on out. There are more questions than answers right now but my motivation remains the same. We’ll reset and regroup once we get a new racing schedule and make a new plan. More time to get faster!

– Lea Davison (USA) TWENTY20 Pro Cycling

If there is anything cancer has taught me it’s that we have to be flexible. Life is full of uncontrollable things. We can only control how we react. The announcement of the postponement of the Olympics/Paralympics has given me time to reflect upon what is most important, my faith. I trust God’s plan over anything I want. The silver lining is more time to get stronger and faster regardless of getting older!! I was ready to bring it this year and I will be even more ready to bring it next year!!

– Jamie Whitmore (USA)

While it’s disappointing that we will not be competing in Tokyo this summer, the decision to postpone the Olympics until 2021 is the best thing for the athletes and the entire situation. At this point, it’s challenging to look at 2021 and figure out what the landscape will look like. There is uncertainty about when events will take place, what the 2021 UCI race calendar will look like for track and road, what the US domestic road calendar will look like for 2020 & 2021, how athletes will qualify for the Olympic team, or what financial support will be available by our governing body. It’s extremely complicated and fluid and out of the athlete’s hands but I trust that the IOC, USOPC, and USA Cycling will make the best decisions for everyone involved. I will continue to train towards Tokyo 2021.

Jennifer Valente (USA) TWENTY20 Pro Cycling

The news of the postponement of the Games is of course devastating for all of us. Not only does this decision affect the athletes, but also coaches, staff, sponsors, volunteers, fans, family members, and many many more will feel it. This is something that has never happened in our time before.

As a Canadian Olympian, I was proud of the Canadian Olympic Committee for taking a leadership role, for standing up to the IOC and stating that it would not send a team to Olympics in 2020 due to the Corona virus and the health of the country. After the decision was made to postpone that Games, personally this really hit me. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. We live for schedule, for routine, and for knowing what is next. We have trained our bodies and mind to be peaking for a specific date, and it felt like it was just taken from us.

But this decision is so, so much more than the Olympic Games. The decision was monumental, because the world is experiencing something monumental. We need to come together, now, and do everything we can as individuals to heal the world. The Games will be there, and we will be ready. But for now, the world’s health is what we need to focus on. I am trying to stay present, and find happiness every day. It is difficult, but I know I will find my motivation to train harder than ever, to rebuild for next year. But for now, I am reminding myself to enjoy the things I normally don’t have the energy or time to do.

– Georgia Simmerling (CAN) TWENTY20 Pro Cycling

It’s easy to be upset by the postponement of the Olympics but with everything going on in the world I believe it was the right decision. From my perspective it will give me another year to only get stronger. As an athlete we deal with adversity all the time and this is just another obstacle to overcome.

– Sofia Arreola (MEX)