When the IOC announced the postponement of the Summer Olympics, the sporting world and Olympic hopefuls everywhere breathed a sigh of relief. As disappointing as it is for athletes to have to wait another year to compete in Tokyo, the consensus is that postponement was the right decision. For American sprinter Noah Lyles, who has asthma, moving the Games to 2021 was quite possibly the only way he could compete in Tokyo due to health concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.
COVID-19 may be especially dangerous for seniors, but it's not exclusive to them. Let U.S. Olympic sprinter Noah Lyles be a lesson in the importance of social distancing, writes @Rosenberg_Mikehttps://t.co/ezVj0NsCWc
— SI Olympics (@si_olympics) March 26, 2020
Lyles, the reigning 200m world champion, is 22 years old, and although young and fit, he could face serious complications if he contracts the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control states that “people with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma” are at “high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19.” Had the Games gone ahead as planned this summer, Lyles—although one of the fastest sprinters in history and the gold medal favourite—could very well have had to stay home.
“It was a little relief to see that it’s been decided to postpone the Olympics because my first concern was that everybody would be healthy and everybody would have a fair place to compete,” he told World Athletics.
Lyles has been affected by a pandemic before. When he was 12 years old, he got H1N1.
“It is a little scary,” he said. “So I know that my body is susceptible to catching things—maybe more easily than others, that’s why I have to work it harder.” He has taken the necessary precautions, and he’s being careful in everyday life as he tries to navigate this new world amid the coronavirus outbreak. Through it all, he continues to train, and now for an Olympics that he will have a much better chance of attending.
“We still want to maintain fitness and we still want to have some kind of a season. Just because the Olympics is gone doesn’t mean that I won’t run. My first love is running. So I want to do that.”