Huskies basketball coach, bound for Olympics, says games without fans 'unfortunate'

Olympic athletes are getting ready for the Summer Games in Tokyo in what will be a spectacle held without fans.

“It’s unfortunate,” said women’s basketball head coach Lisa Thomaidis, who also coaches the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s team.

“Having been to two other Olympics and just the energy and enthusiasm that you get from the crowd and just the environment, it's second to none.”

Team Canada’s goal is to reach the podium, she said.

Tokyo has declared a state of emergency from July 12 to Aug. 22.

Anicka Newell will represent Canada in the Olympics at Tokyo. She’s a dual-American Citizen and calls Saskatoon her Canadian hometown

“I'm obviously pretty bummed, as I'm sure most all the athletes are,” said Newell. “An audience really produces a lot of energy throughout the stadium and to not have one, it's going to be a very different feel."

Bruce Craven, president of Craven Sports Service, has worked with several Olympians over the years.

For these Olympic games he’ll watch Rylan Wiens, who he helped train for the 10-meter diving event.

Craven feels athletes who endured the COVID-19 pandemic became mentally stronger, helping prepare them for the Games.

“There was no future in the sense of knowing when things were going to happen. So they only could focus on the moment and the task of the day and that's high performance sport.”

Spectators are banned from entering stadiums and arenas in and around Tokyo for both indoor and outdoor venues, though some fans will be allowed at events in outlying areas.

Japan Prime Minster Yoshihide Suga says virus prevention measures are needed to prevent a resurgence of infections from spreading across the country.

The games begin July 23 and wrap up Aug. 8.