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Karabatic, Lavillenie, Lamote and other sportsmen welcome the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics

  • Renaud Lavillenie, pole vaulter

© Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

It is an unfortunate good decision because we would all have liked to have the Games in 2020 but given the current context, there was no other option. It is also important to see that the athletes' feelings and wishes have been respected. Now we're all going to be relieved by saying that we no longer need to train by doing DIY at home, we will be able to pose mentally and it will be good.

“It is really a relief because it was clear that these Games could not have taken place under healthy conditions. The health of the athletes had to be the priority and what was complicated for us was to train in precarious conditions for a competition that appeared to be more and more ghostly. It also allows us to focus even more now on this fight against the pandemic than to focus on this organization of the Games which is really very secondary in my opinion … My program now it's going to be to continue to prepare because we have just gained one more year of preparation, but we will now be more liberated compared to this pressure that we had. “

  • Nikola Karabatic, handball player

Karabatic, Lavillenie, Lamote and other sportsmen welcome the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics
© AFP

It was the wisest decision to make. Of course I would have liked the Games to take place as soon as possible, this summer, but we had to wait until the global coronavirus crisis was really behind us. The postponement to October, I did not believe it at all, it would have caused calendar problems difficult to solve. With the Olympics in 2021, if France qualifies, I think we’ll have a good chance of seeing me at the 2021 World Cup next January in Egypt. If France is there of course! That's a lot of “if” all of that ..!

  • Christophe Lemaitre, sprinter

Karabatic, Lavillenie, Lamote and other sportsmen welcome the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics
© AFP

It is a coherent decision, from the moment when confined athletes cannot train normally, as they would in normal circumstances, it is completely justified. For me this is good news. Because imagine that the situation is resolved quickly, we would have had several weeks of very complicated training anyway. We had to react quickly. In any event, it was better to make a decision as soon as possible so that the athletes prepared accordingly. We are all in a state of uncertainty and that is what is really problematic. We were forced to pretend that everything was going to go normally when the situation was nothing “normal”“.

“Sport in a second time”

Today there are more serious problems to be solved in the world. We must stop this epidemic as quickly as possible by staying at home, confined, even if it is to the detriment of our preparation. We must first think of this pandemic before focusing again on sport. We will think about the Olympic Games in a second time, when everything is over“.

Karabatic, Lavillenie, Lamote and other sportsmen welcome the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics
© AFP

Finally ! (laughing, then more seriously) It is the wisest of decisions. Today, nobody is in control of the health situation and we must first eradicate the pandemic before thinking of the great Olympic holiday. The postponement was inevitable. Today we need a date as soon as possible. In the fall, this might have been best for the long distance races, given the milder weather conditions in Japan at that time. (When at his age in a year, 44 years old). Yes, one more year. We are sleeping with Mélina Robert-Michon (40 years old) when we are very old! If it's 2021, I'll be there. It's not a problem to go a year longer, neither physically nor mentally. We just need a date so we can re-mobilize again“.

  • Siraba Dembélé-Pavlovic, captain of the French women's handball team

Siraba Dembélé, captain of the Bleues, has returned to play in France this season, in Toulon.
Siraba Dembélé, captain of the Bleues, has returned to play in France this season, in Toulon.

It is a reasonable decision. It may seem late to some but it was necessary to think carefully before deciding, to take your time, the priority is global health. No one should take risks. Mother of twins since November, I think more of the well-being of my family today than at the Games … Like many athletes, so as not to spoil a whole planning of preparation, I will have a postponement not too much distant in time, in the fall. A postponement of one year for athletes (-ives) who have a large part of their career behind them (me) like me, it may be more complicated. But we will do with it!

  • Samir Aït Saïd, gymnast

Karabatic, Lavillenie, Lamote and other sportsmen welcome the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics
© AFP

It is a very good thing. We are in doubt, we do not know where we are going … We are surviving and personally I find it very difficult to train. I installed a makeshift gym under the wind from my neighbor because at home it is too small, but it is outside and for 2 days, it has been super cold. It’s very hard to train. I hung rings on a wooden beam but impossible to make an iron cross, the feelings are not at all the same. I now hope that the postponement will be in July 2021, just to keep the idea of ​​the Summer Games….

Experienced florist Astrid Guyart
Experienced florist Astrid Guyart © AFP – NUPHOTO – MICHAL FLUDRA

“It is good for the athletes to have a clearer horizon. It is the uncertainty which was heavy. The important thing for us, high performance sportsmen, is now to plan for the future more serenely. We did not expect that a decision would be made so early. I had 2 criteria for these Games to be ensured: 1 /, that the Olympic Games are organized with respect for everyone's health and 2 / that sporting equity, in preparation, is respected. This is the event of our life the Olympic Games … Today, this is the least bad solution that the IOC has taken. Who can be satisfied with this situation? Everyone loses. But sport will only be a consequence of the health crisis … “

  • Amandine Leynaud, goalkeeper of the French hanball team

Amandine Leynaud
Amandine Leynaud © JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

The IOC is making the right choice. It became impossible to do the Olympics in July, it also seemed complicated to organize them in the fall with the resumption of the respective championships. I hope we will always be qualified (the next qualifying Euro is in December, NLDR), there is no reason, we had our ticket in our pocket. I planned to stop the Olympics after the 2020 Olympics, there with 2021, I don't know if I'm going to leave for a season. We'll see“.

  • Cyril Tommasone, gymnast

Cyril Tommasone on the pommel horse
Cyril Tommasone on the pommel horse © THOMAS COEX / AFP

That's very good news. It is a great “phew” of relief. Right now, we’re trying to keep in shape, I’ve put a pommel horse in my garage but the ceiling is too low, my head is just passing, it’s hot. We try to train a little but it’s super complicated, I’m on my own I don’t have my coach. If I stop for 1 month, it will take 2 months to get back to my level. In terms of organization, the Games should be postponed to next year. How do you want to do for those who are not yet qualified? And we, who have had very few competitions to train“.

  • Sandrine Gruda, basketball player

With Sandrine Gruda, France begins the Basketball Euro
With Sandrine Gruda, France begins the Basketball Euro © AFP

First, life has to start again, sport goes far behind. Everyone is in the unknown in the face of the pandemic. (…) The situation is unique. Everyone will have to be flexible: athletes, federations, countries. Everyone has something to gain from it. In the summer of 2021, we, the French team, have a European championship, in France, what's more. In other words, you see, the situation is complex. We sportsmen have to be patient, but in offices, it has to be much more complicated!

  • Marc-Antoine Olivier, open water swimmer

Karabatic, Lavillenie, Lamote and other sportsmen welcome the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics
© AFP

The confinement called into question all the Olympic preparation, it is a good thing to postpone the Games in a year. In addition to the Olympic Village, it's complicated, we all eat in the same place, we all take the same shuttles, it would have been complicated: a case could have restarted the epidemic very quickly. Then you have to know how they will do it. There are already qualified athletes. Will they put places back into play, keep those already qualified? This is the question to ask. But I think it would be good to add places. A lot can happen in a year. There, it was more and more complicated to train. The first week we were motivated, but there …

French gymnast Marine Boyer
French gymnast Marine Boyer © AFP

I feel a lot of disappointment. We had a very busy program throughout this year. We qualified the team for the Games. We left for the Olympics and there everything stops, we are lost. I thought to myself that the Games could be done, that in the fall it could still go. I just heard the news, I'm really disappointed, but health first. “

Enzo Lefort confided at length on his sport
Enzo Lefort confided at length on his sport © AFP

It was impossible to envisage the Games in July, it is obviously a good decision. You have to think collective and fair. Many questions now arise: will the selection criteria be the same? Will the new talents that will emerge in 2021 have their place at the Olympic Games? Personally, I would have liked the Olympics to be moved to the fall. I'm sick of it, since September, my head is on the handlebars. That's the Olympic years, we invest a lot more than in other years. I had in mind this date with the Olympics and there, it is necessary to leave for a year. But again, we're talking about a fight against a global epidemic, so it's a very good decision.

  • Rénelle Lamote, athlete

Renelle Lamote
Renelle Lamote © AFP

It’s a relief that the IOC made this decision. I felt divided between my duty as a citizen and my training. I was a bit lost without knowing where to go. So from a sporting point of view it is a real relief, we feel that the IOC listened to us and that it respects us. The priority today is not the Games but to fight this virus. Postponing them by a year is preferable because it will allow us to peacefully prepare for another Olympic year. This will allow us to have an optimal training. “

  • Mélanie De Jesus Dos Santos, gymnast

Karabatic, Lavillenie, Lamote and other sportsmen welcome the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics
© AFP

It’s a lot of frustrations, disappointment too … We were off to a good start (the female team qualified for the Olympic Games, note) and we are stopped in the middle of the race. It’s hard to live with but it’s a health issue so there is nothing to say. The Olympic year is always very hard, especially at the start. We must resume physical and mental preparation. So we are going to have to start all over what we have already done and it will be difficult. I’m going to try to keep my physique, I’m in the countryside, I’m not sure if there will be competitions once I’m out of containment. We work a bit in a vacuum, but here too we must think about health, first of all.

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