Coronavirus: Alberta athletes reacts to Team Canada’s decision to not attend Tokyo Games

The Canadian Olympic Committee announced Sunday that it would not send athletes to the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

While it’s devastating for Canadians who poured their hearts in to four years or more of training, the common sentiment seems to be it’s the right decision.

“It’s kind of a hard pill to swallow that you’re not going to be going,” said Kindred Paul, a Devon, Alta. native who plays for Canada’s water polo team.

“We all know that this is the most responsible thing to be doing and it’s the right choice.”

“I want to thank the COC and CPC for taking some of that pressure off,” said three-time olympian Angela Whyte.

“I know for myself personally, and perhaps other athletes, it’s really hard to reconcile both being an athlete but then also being a responsible citizen.”

Annamay Oldershaw (Née Pierse) represented Canada at the 2008 Olympics; dengue fever from a mosquito bite at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India sidelined her and she didn’t end up qualifying for the 2012 Games in London.

But she put the work in and knows just how hard these athletes work in a quadrennial and how devastating it is to have it taken away.

Now she’s been through two Olympic cycles in a different role. She’s married to Mark Oldershaw, a canoeist who was preparing for his fourth games.

They have two little girls: four-year-old Josephine and Margaret, who is two. The family spends much of the winter apart while Mark trains in Florida.

“I was home with the girls, doing everything I could to keep our family here,” said Oldershaw. “Running and keeping the house, and working and making sure that the girls were fed and happy and getting through their daily things while Mark was away training.

“It’s a really hard sacrifice on both sides. Me being with the girls, alone, and Mark being away and not seeing his family everyday.”

Oldershaw though, said she would do it all over again.

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