Qualify first, worry later:
Marathoners say no time to fear Olympic cancellation
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[February 28, 2020]
By Amy Tennery
ATLANTA (Reuters) - Aspring Olympians
at the U.S. marathon trials said on Thursday that they were
concerned first with securing one of the coveted few tickets to
Tokyo 2020 - and less, at least for now, about whether there would
even be an Olympics this year.
Numerous international sports events have been hit by the outbreak
of a new coronavirus, with about 80,000 people infected, the vast
majority in China, raising concern over the upcoming Games in Japan.
"I don’t have coronavirus at the moment and I hope it stays that
way,” Scott Fauble told reporters.
Fauble is one of the most promising competitors in the men’s field.
His Olympic dreams proved tantalizingly out of grasp in 2016, when
he came in fourth in the 10,000-metres at the Olympic Track and
“I’m not like an infectious disease expert and I try to be educated,
I try to listen to podcasts, read articles about it,” said Fauble.
“But me worrying about what the coronavirus does in six months
doesn’t really help me on Saturday.”
On Thursday, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach
told members of the Japanese media that the IOC was "fully
committed" to holding the Games on schedule.
Team USA said in a written statement this week that it was "100%
focused on maintaining our high standards of Games preparedness,"
but acknowledged the recent uptick in "precautionary positions taken
in both Japan and Korea over the past three days – along with
confirmations of additional outbreaks in Italy and Iran."
"We don’t yet know the full impact of the new developments on Team
USA athletes and staff," the team said.
[to top of second column]
Scott Fauble cf the U.S.A. crosses the finish line in seventh place
during the 123rd running of the Boston Marathon on the sixth
anniversary of the 2013 Boston marathon bombings in Boston,
Massachusetts, U.S. April 15th, 2019. REUTERS/Gretchen Ertl
In Atlanta, runners said they were spending the precious few moments
of downtime before Saturday’s competition focused on strategy and
rest, and not on the headlines.
“People are certainly being more cautious in how they are tending to
having their hands washed and staying away from germs and just
trying to make sure they’re not getting sick,” said Kellyn Taylor,
who is in contention for one of the U.S. team’s three spots with the
fourth-fastest qualifying team headed into the weekend.
"There is a significant barrier to be covered in order to just make
the team,” said Jake Riley, who clocked the fastest time by an
American at the 2019 Chicago Marathon.
"It's there, in the back of my mind but I’m trying not to think
about it too much."
Organizers for the Tokyo Marathon, which is also scheduled to take
place this weekend, have decided to bar all but the race’s elite
field from participation, citing health concerns.
(Reporting By Amy Tennery; Editing by Robert Birsel)
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