With Tokyo Olympics still up in the air, athletes focus on what they can control: training
As questions swirl around whether the Olympics should go ahead, athletes continue to keep their heads down and focus on what they can control — training.
Ellie Black, Canada's most decorated artistic gymnast, spent part of Thursday morning lifting weights with strength and conditioning coach Scott Willgress at the Canadian Sport Centre Atlantic.
"Just putting in all the extra work we can in the next month until we head over to Tokyo and it's an incredible accomplishment for any athlete to make it to these games just we've overcome so much," Black said.
It's 50 days until Tokyo 2020, and in any competition where results are decided by a single routine, or perhaps a single movement, how an athlete trains 50 days before the event is crucial.
That includes getting vaccinated. Black only got her shot less than a week ago.
"I'm very excited I was able to get that. It's light at the end of the tunnel that we're moving towards and doing your part to keep people in the community around you safe," she said.
The President of Tokyo 2020 says he's 100 per cent certain the games will go ahead this summer—a year after initially scheduled. But most Japanese people are against the games and 10,000 volunteers have quit.
"I think a lot of that political stuff is in the background and in our heads a little bit, but what we're trying to focus on is what we can control," Willgress said.
He's been training Canada's women's softball, kayak and artistic gymnastics teams and is also Tokyo-bound.
When it comes to planning workouts for athletes, the pandemic forced the coach to think outside the box.
"Some athletes had access to a gym the whole time, others had a home gym, others had - you know, a bag of milk," Willgress said.
In-gym training is happening again, but with restrictions.
It means para-triathlete Kamylle Frenette can return to the gym to run in what looks like a tent with two heaters inside.
"It's similar to what it'll be like in Tokyo. So it's 33 degrees with a lot of humidity," Frenette said.
Postponing the Olympics gave Black more time to recover from an ankle injury. With the clock reset, the medal hopeful who finished fifth in the women's all-round five years ago in Rio is focused on what's in front of her.
"Just trying to stay as positive as we can in our preparations and hope that the Olympics can go ahead in a Safeway for everyone," she said.
"I'm really excited to see their faces when they get to step out onto the field or onto the floor and you know achieve their dreams and hope that they do exactly what they want to do when they get there," Willgress said.