UAlbany graduate affected by Olympics uncertainty

Coronavirus

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Olympic hopefuls are forced to stare down the disappointing possibility that the 2020 Summer Games will be postponed. UAlbany graduate Grace Claxton in one of them.

Just one month ago, the former Great Dane was training at her alma mater. She was excited about the Tokyo Olympics, which would be her second trip to the most prestigious international competition. She recalled her first experience in Rio four years ago.

“Any time I think about it or speak about it, I get goosebumps,” she said at the time. “And to know that I’ll be back there again, it amazes me.”

Fast forward to now, and that dream is in jeopardy. On Monday, Longtime member of the International Olympic Committee Dick Pound told the USA Today that the Tokyo Olympics would be postponed, likely to 2021.

The IOC’s responded in a statement saying, “It’s the right of every IOC member to interpret the decision of the IOC [executive board] which was announced yesterday.”

The IOC on Sunday had announced it would take the next four weeks to review a number of scenarios regarding the Games (including possible postponement) and hoped to have a decision at the end of the four weeks. The possibility remains.

“I spoke to Grace just a little while ago, and you know, she’s devastated,” said Roberto Vives. The UAlbany track and field coach had trained Claxton for years and knows the work she’s put in.

“She’s really sacrificed to make her dreams come true,” he said. “She has put her life on hold, her personal life, her professional life.”

The Olympic dream can be a costly one. Grace, like most Olympic athletes, puts so much time into training that she doesn’t have much left over to work and gain financial security.

“She really has no source of income,” said Vives. “She gets a little help from the Puerto Rico government in terms of travel and training expenses, but it’s a really huge sacrifice.”

Should the Olympics be pushed back, it’s a sacrifice that Claxton would have to prolong, making it a difficult decision whether or not she would. But if she sticks with it, whenever the Summer Games are held, hopefully Grace can maintain the same mindset she had a month ago.

“I just go out there and enjoy it and know I was meant to be here. I deserve to be here. I worked hard to be here. And everything’s gonna be alright.”

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