Team USA, UF Track and Field Coach Talks 2020 Olympics Postponement

Zach Goodall

Amidst the global pandemic known as the novel coronavirus, the sporting world is all but shut down. 

The NBA sent out the first shock wave to the sports world when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 shortly following the strange postponement of Utah's contest against Oklahoma City, just minutes prior to tip-off on March 11th. 

Since, the MLB has pushed back Opening Day, the NFL Draft has moved towards a virtual event in April, and now the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games have been "rescheduled to a date beyond 2020, but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community," according to the International Olympic Committee.

Illustrious Florida Gators track and field coach Mike Holloway, who was selected to represent the United States as Team USA's coach in the same sport in the Olympic games, discussed the cancelation of the world-renowned sporting event with WRUF radio in Gainesville on Thursday.

“We started hearing rumors at the end of last week and we kind of saw it coming. My reaction was, I just wanted to know," Holloway said.

"It’s hard with our post-collegiate athletes to talk about training for something that was such an uncertainty," he continued with WRUF. "The biggest thing for me was just that now we know it’s been postponed and we can take that off our plate. I’ve got a lot of people calling me, worried about me, but I’m fine. I think my major concern, like everybody else, is that we get this thing under control and that we can get back to our normal lives.”

The Olympics appeared an obvious event to postpone while the coronavirus accelerates across the world. According to Johns Hopkins University, the novel virus has accumulated over 520,000 global cases as of the time of this story, taking the lives of over 23,000 - as of when this story was published. 

As hospitals across the globe begin to hit maximum capacity and run out of ventilators and masks, Holloway is focused on sending his thoughts out to those battling coronavirus on the front lines.

“The biggest thing we need to all do is say a prayer and be thankful for the people in the medical profession," Holloway continued, "because they are the ones that are going through it right now and they’re the ones that are going to make sure we get through this in the long run. I’m saying a prayer for them every day.”

The United States track and field trials, previously scheduled from June 19th through the 28th in Eugene, Oregon, have also been postponed until 2021. Holloway noted that he would not have been in charge of tweaking his athlete's technique and workouts, rather he was set to help put together the team and "to support and help these young people realize their dreams."

In Alachua County alone, where the University of Florida is located and a stay-at-home order has been issued, there are 49 confirmed cases according to the Florida Department of Health. There are over 2300 confirmed cases within the state.

UF should have been well-represented this summer in Tokyo, by both current student-athletes and former collegiate stars. 

For one, Holloway was set to lead the charge along with coach Rose Monday. The university also confirmed to Sports Illustrated-AllGators that senior sprinter Raymond Ekevwo had qualified for the Olympics in the representation of his home country of Nigeria. Ekevko owns the school record in the 100-meter dash at 9.96 seconds, set in 2019. 

Holloway mentioned that several Florida athletes, former and current, were set to contend to qualify.

“You start right here in Gainesville with Grant Holloway, Kyra Jefferson, TJ Holmes, Eric Futch and that group of guys. You’ve got a guy like Eddie Lovett, who represents the U.S. Virgin Islands. Obviously, he had a good chance," said Holloway.  "You have other Gator Greats like Christian Taylor, Will Claye and Omar Craddock. Kerron Clement, who is not here anymore. He’s out in California, but obviously it’s hard to bet against Kerron making any team.

"There are a lot of Gators all over the world that are still training hard and ready to make a big splash in Tokyo whenever they decide to have it.”

Video provided by Sports Illustrated Media.