British Columbia

B.C. Olympic hopefuls keep up their training regimes

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games have been postponed, but these B.C. athletes are still keeping up with their training.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games have been postponed until July 2021 due to COVID-19

Olympic hopefuls like runner Natasha Wodak are keeping up with training to keep fit physically — and mentally — in the midst of COVID-19. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/File)

Although the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games have been postponed until next summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many B.C. athletes are keeping up their training regimes. 

Swimmer Brent Hayden from Mission, B.C., was planning an Olympic return after "retiring" eight years ago. 

He won a bronze medal in the 100-metre freestyle swimming event at the London Games in 2012, but quit the sport soon after, weighed down by back injuries. 

But last year he announced a comeback with Tokyo 2020 as the goal.

That all changed, of course, with the COVID-19 pandemic, when Tokyo organizers took the unprecedented step of delaying the games by a year. 

On Tuesday, Japan Medical Association president Yoshitake Yokokura cast doubt over whether the Olympics would even take place in 2021, saying the games would proceed only if infections were under control around the world.

Brent Hayden of Canada celebrates his bronze medal performance in the men's 100m freestyle at the Olympic Games in London on Aug. 1, 2012. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

In the face of that uncertainty, Hayden has been continuing to train at home. He says the fact he had such a long break has helped him remain calm about needing to maintain top condition. 

"You learn to not stress about trying to stay in top Olympic shape as long as you're doing something and keeping your body healthy. The body has a crazy way of remembering and adapting when you reintroduce the workload again," Hayden said. 

Natasha Wodak, who captured gold in the women's 10,000 metre event at last year's Pan American Games in Peru, says she has moments where she feels sad and misses racing.

She's been focusing on keeping in shape — and having fun.

"I want to be six weeks from top shape, so [my] coach and I are trying to maintain a certain level of fitness doing fun workouts that we really enjoy."

Surrey's Natasha Wodak captured gold at the women's 10,000 metre race at last year's Pan American Games in Peru. (CBC)

Her advice for other athletes dealing with a disrupted schedule?

"I've been telling people to set mini-goals along the way. So May 9, you were gonna run the BMO half-marathon? Go run a half-marathon. Keep that in your training so you have something every morning to get up and say, 'I'm still going to do my 13-kilometre run."

If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at impact@cbc.ca

With files from Dan Burritt

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