Still Running: Local Olympian Keeps Training Amid 2020 Tokyo Games Postponement

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It will still be known as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but the competition won't likely begin until 2021. The International Olympic Committee formally postponed the games Tuesday.

This is an unprecedented move in unprecedented times amid COVID-19 concerns and it has left all Olympians wondering what this means for them.

“To have your sights set on something so big for so long and the have kind of the rug pulled out from under you is really tough to deal with,” said Donnie Cabral, who grew up in Glastonbury and is now training in Hartford for his third Olympics. He represented Team USA in 2012 and 2013 in the 3000m steeplechase.

“I took this spring 2020 off and delayed graduation for a year,” said Cabral, who is also a business and law student at UConn Law School

Cabral said now, he’ll have to train while finishing his degree. Though he’s done that before: he completed his undergraduate degree from Princeton University in 2012, the same as his first Olympics. He’s less concerned about his own training timeline and more about the missed opportunity for his sport.

“You know everyone who makes a living as a professional runner does it because our sport gets a big viewership every four years,” said Cabral.

Though, he adds, he’s in favor of the delay because it will mean a level playing field next year,

“So many friends in Europe, other runners in Europe who haven’t been able to train because they can't leave their house,” said Cabral. “They don't have exceptions for exercising.”

So on the same morning as the IOC’s decision, Cabral is getting in one more training run while he can, running for all of those who can’t.

“You know fellow runners and teammates around the world who are really banking on this to be their career-defining moment,” said Cabral. “And they have trained so hard for it and now they have to deal with this uncertainty.”

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