Minnesota Olympic hopefuls describe heartbreak after Tokyo games postponed

After mounting pressure, the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo have been postponed to 2021, forcing athletes, including some Minnesotans, to re-evaluate their training.

Grace McCallum competes in the uneven bars, the balance beam, floor exercise and the vault for Team USA Gymnastics and has been training for the Tokyo games for the past four years.

“I think postponing the Olympics is heartbreaking for us athletes, you know, working so hard, getting the timing right to peak at the right time, but I think it’s what’s safest and I think it was a good decision,” she said.

The 17-year-old gymnast from Isanti, Minn. Says the Olympic Committee’s decision to delay the games in light of the coronavirus pandemic wasn’t unexpected, but keeping her mind and body in shape for another year in hopes of qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team will be a challenge.

“It’s really tough,” she said. “It takes a toll on you mentally, too because you have to be in the right mindset to be ready to compete. It’s really hard, but you just have to stay strong and remember your end goal.”

Regan Smith is another Minnesotan who was hoping to make a splash at this year’s summer games swimming for Team USA.

“I thought I would take it pretty hard and be really broken up over it, but I’m doing OK,” she said about the postponement. “It makes me feel better knowing everyone is in the same boat that I’m in and that we are all going to get through this together. It’s unfortunate, but it’s OK.”

Smith already holds two world records for the 100 and 200-meter backstroke and she still hopes to qualify for the Olympics next year to add a few Gold Medals to her resume.

“I’m sad that I can’t show what I’ve been training so hard for this summer, but again, I have one extra year to get more fired up, get better, to get stronger. And I think next summer will be really, really special, God willing if I make it.”