ATLANTA — We are one year out from the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. It is the first Olympics to be postponed in history, and is already shaping up to be strange territory for a soon-to-be third-time Olympian.
“This is unbelievable knowing there is no trials, no games - we would have already been through the Opening ceremonies,” explained Christian Taylor
Taylor grew up in Fayetteville, Georgia. The 2020 Summer Games would have been his third Olympics. Now, he has to wait another year to compete.
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“It blows my mind to think of all that has happened,” Taylor said. “It feels like we were just watching the Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta.”
When his home city helped kick of the Olympic season with the Marathon Trials on Feb. 29, the two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and four-time World Champion felt the momentum.
“It got things stirring in me, and it got me ready to compete,” he said, recalling how he watched the Americans hold the flag at the finish line and felt the energy. “It made me excited for my chance to represent.”
Taylor spent the next weekend hosting athletes from all over Georgia at the Christian Taylor Invitational. Sandy Creek, where he went to high school, put on the meet on March 7.
“That was an absolute blessing,” he said, adding how he loved the opportunity to coach and encourage young athletes.
“Three weeks later the year would just look very different,” he added.
The announcement came: The Olympics would be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Taylor’s fiancé, Beate Schrott, an Olympic hurdler from Austria, had already left the U.S. They were just reunited in Europe last week.
“It is wonderful to be together after being apart for almost six months,” he said. They are hoping their wedding will still be able to happen in the U.S. in October.
For now, though, they are both training in Europe. Taylor had been training in Florida, but said it had been limited because of the number of COVID-19 cases there.
“It has definitely been more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge,” Taylor reflected.
It’s something everyone on Team USA is dealing with.
Olympians have been training in backyards, basements, and through the streets of their cities, as many facilities are still closed because of the virus. No one would have predicted the way the year would play out.
“Everyone jumped into 2020," Taylor said. "They had these vision boards and had this idea of what it was going to be like."
The man awarded the Track and Field Athlete of the last decade is optimistic through the unprecedented beginning of this decade. He his hopeful that Tokyo 2021 will happen.
We asked him what he looks forward to most: “The chance to almost prove myself," he said.
And, Taylor said it is an opportunity to be a light during challenging times.
“It gives me something greater to compete for it’s no longer how far I can jump or energy I can send,” he said.
He said he hopes to share a message of love: “We need to find a way to love each other a bit more.”
He said he believes that is the underlying problem, globally.
“The reason you see the protests in many parts of the world, because there is a lack of love that we have for each other,” he said, adding, “When we recognize that we are one race - the human race - and we see we need to care for each other and respect each other, it will change our perspective.”
Christian Taylor hopes to become the first to win a third consecutive Olympic Gold Medals in the triple jump during the 2021 Summer Games.
PHOTOS: Olympic triple-jumper Christian Taylor