FORT WORTH, Texas — Every four years the world gears up for the Olympic games, but what seemed like the last major sporting event untouched by the Coronavirus pandemic will now be put off until a later date.
That's the last thing U.S. Olympian skeet shooter, Vincent Hancock, wanted to hear. He's been eyeing the summer of 2020 for quite a while.
"It's been a big goal of mine since Rio, because I didn't finish where I wanted to in Rio," Hancock said. "I reset myself and said 'I'm going to go back to Tokyo in July of 2020'."
Hancock, who is from Eatonton and attended Gatewood, won Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012. He had a disappointing finish in 2016 and worked hard to rejoin the team in 2020.
Just a few weeks ago, he earned his spot on the 2020 Olympic team and then, it was snatched away amid coronavirus concerns.
"Making the team was a big burden, and then when we were up in the air about what was going to happen, that burden kind of came back on again. I said 'Ok, am I going to have to try and do this all over again?'," Hancock said.
There were thoughts of cancelling the games all together because of the threat of COVID-19 to athletes, fans, and staff.
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach announced the games are postponed to the summer of 2021 earlier this week, but even a delay was enough to deflate Hancock.
"I didn't really know how much that affected me until after the official word came out and I went to the range to practice and I shot one box of shells and I'm just like, 'I have no drive. I have nothing because everything that I had been working for isn't there now'," Hancock said.
The Olympian said he knows how to reset himself, but feels a lack of drive with no competitions set for the rest of the year.
USA Shooting made an announcement that his spot in Tokyo is safe and that they will keep the same selected members. Now he has to figure out what to do with the unexpected free time.
Like many people around the world, he has more time with family. Hancock lives in Fort Worth, Texas with his two daughters, Bailey and Brenlyn, and wife Rebekah.
"Taking off that time, it allows you to reset mentally, physically, spiritually even. It allows me to be a husband and a father for a change versus just an athlete. I've tried to learn to compartmentalize," Hancock said. "The more time I spend at home with my family, the better understanding I have of one, what's truly important. But also two, how to make both things work together."
Hancock's emphasis on the importance of family time goes back to his roots in Central Georgia. His dad, Craig was also an Olympic shooter.
He remembers wanting to travel during his youth in Eatonton, but always liked the slower pace of his hometown.
"Georgia in general, not even just the small town Georgia. Georgia in all, we're such a close knit group of people and we appreciate just the small things in life and it's made me very appreciative for the things that I have," Hancock said.
Hancock will enjoy the time he has at home, but looks forward to returning to gold medal form come 2021.
Tokyo's Olympic planning organizers estimate it will cost more than $12 billion to reschedule everything for the following summer. Until now, the games had only been rescheduled in war time.
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