GRP Rowing Looks Ahead After the Postponement of the 2020 Olympics Games

28.Mar.2020 by Alex Spaulding

Just twelve days ago, the men and women of the Green Racing Project were finishing up a Super Compensation phase of training in the lead up to Olympic Trials I in Inverness, Florida – and then the dominoes started to fall. As the reality of the affects of COVID-19 started to set-in, it became clear to USRowing that it would not be socially responsible to hold Olympic Trials in the months of March and April. This was the first “phase” of postponement for our Summer Olympic hopefuls, with other phases following rapidly each day after.

Within a span of three days FISA, the governing body of World Rowing, canceled all three World Cups and the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta. The outlook for qualification as well as the Olympics themselves started to look quite complicated across all Summer-Sports, and it wasn’t long before governing bodies of USASwimming, and USATrack&Field called for the postponement of the games. Just a day later, Australia and Canada became the first two countries to “drop out” of the games as a symbol of social responsibility. And finally, on Tuesday March 24th, the Japanese Prime Minister announced the official postponement of the games to, no later than, the summer of 2021.

The Green Racing Project packed up their camp in Florida and head north after the announcements by FISA on the 15th. Coach Whelpley decided it would be a safer and healthier environment for the team to be back at home in Vermont. Since arriving back on campus, the GRP rowers have been following strict quarantine guidelines at the COC and have been operating out of their houses and doing what they can to maintain fitness under the current shelter in place. 

As for next steps, the team is still awaiting announcements from FISA and USRowing in regards to possible summer racing opportunities. These are unprecedented times for our athletes as many had chunked out their lives with this year being their athletic apex followed by a transition year. This month will be one of decision making, with many athletes leaning toward going for “one more big one” and others who will be hanging up their oars, like Wes Vear, who will be heading to Columbia Medial School in NYC in the fall.

This is definitely an emotional experience for our athletes – with some uncertainty, excitement, doubt, and positivity. One this is for certain, and that is that I am proud and thankful to be a part of such an amazing community like the COC because we always work toward doing the “right thing” and that will pay dividends as we ban together to fight this pandemic and eventually look toward our personal goals.