For a lot of former Hog track & field athletes, it’s been a stressful few months.
First, it was finding somewhere to train because the University of Arkansas closed their facilities. Then it waiting for the unknown.
On Tuesday the International Olympic Committee announced the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to 2021.
Never has the Olympic games been postponed or canceled for something other than war-
and athletes find themselves in uncharted waters.
“At the end of the day we are athletes, and our job is to compete, and we are entertainers. I want to do that, but right now the world comes first,” says Olympian and former Razorback Wallace Spearmon.
Spearmon is the Vice Chair of the Athletes Advisory Committee for the US IOC. Before the decision was made to postpone the games, he said over 4,000 polls sent to athletes to get their feedback.
“You will never have that many Olympians on the phone with the same idea or thoughts on what should happen,” Spearmon says, “There were several thoughts and not everyone agreed. We tried to take the majority of what people thought.”
After getting over the initial shock of the situation, many other former Hogs shared their feelings.
“I haven’t been getting that upset because obviously I know that there is a reason for everything. I’ve just been trying to remain positive and yes spend time with family,” says Payton Chadwick.
“Definitely sad, and I am going to allow myself to be sad, but I do realize that it is not the end of the world. We are still going to get our Olympics,” adds distance runner Dominique Scott.
Earlier in March, former Hog Jarrion Lawson was exonerated on a doping offense. The news of the postponement felt similar to the situation he’s been in for 20 months.
“For me it’s the same thing here. Just train and make sure I go through my summer progressions like I always do, and pick it up in that September-October area and get ready for 2021,” says Lawson.
Training has also been interesting, but they’ve all been able to adapt.
“We get our workouts in the high school track here in Cabot, AR, and so we are able to go up there and get our workouts in,” says pole vaulter Lexi Jacobus, who is training with her twin sister Tori Hoggard.
“We have all been training by ourselves and have been lifting by ourselves. By being a distance runner we are still able to get outside, and luckily still able to run on the road,” says Scott, who is training in her home country of South Africa.
They are all hoping down the road, they will be able to compete again soon.
“Hopefully we can have some meets, I don’t know when that will be, even my agent doesn’t know when we will compete again, but right now I am just trying to stay in shape,” says Chadwick.
Regardless of all the changes being made, the anticipation for the games in 2021 the athletes believe will bring in a lot of attention.
“This has never happened in history. so I think people are going to want to make history and be there, and I think sports are going to blow up whenever they happen again.”