How Summer Olympians Train During Quarantine

Athletes learned to adapt to these uncertain times by implementing ways to train at home. Some athletes use different materials around their houses to imitate their sport.

Courtesy of CNN

Athletes learned to adapt to these uncertain times by implementing ways to train at home. Some athletes use different materials around their houses to imitate their sport.

Danielle Huizar, Photojournalist

Before COVID-19 shut down the world, the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics were supposed to begin on July 24th, 2020. However, after the onslaught of COVID-19 cases worldwide, the International Olympic Committee felt that it was appropriate to postpone the Olympics to July 23rd, 2021 ( Not only did COVID-19 change the date of the Olympics, but it also affected the athletes planning to compete in the Olympics.

At the beginning of the lockdowns and quarantine, many athletes, especially those who rely on training facilities and gyms, were greatly affected by the temporary closure of training centers. On March 14th, 2020, Sam Mikulak, an American gymnast, posted on Instagram that he would be out of training for a month. Additionally, Haley Anderson, a swimmer and silver medalist at the 2012 Olympics, was stressed about the confusion surrounding the closure of Colorado Springs Training Center, and she states that around 20 swimmers who trained at the center went home ( 

With the lockdown of these facilities, athletes started to train at home. Although Adam Peaty, a British swimmer, was landlocked at the beginning of quarantine. Eventually, he was delivered a small pool to continue his training. The British record holder for pole vault, Holly Bradshaw, had a creative way to train during lockdowns. She taped “two cans of baked beans to the end of the mop” to make a lighter version of a pole and do drills at home ( Additionally, athletes shared their at-home work-outs via social media. Stig-Andre Berge, a Norwegian wrestler, shared a video of his workout that consisted of him doing push-ups and other workouts with his baby on his back. There are multiple videos of sport climbers using their stairs, kitchens, and other places in their home to replicate rock walls and mountain climbing. Dafne Schippers, a 200-meter sprinter from the Netherlands, shared a video of her sprinting in her backyard with her dog ( Morgan Hurd, a US gymnast, shared a picture of her stretching over the Harry Potter Books. Artistic swimmers in the US have posted their zoom meetings to discuss new routines (

Fortunately, many of these training facilities have opened up recently. To ensure safety from the pandemic, many Olympic training centers are taking extra safety precautions to protect their athletes, coaches, and staff. In San Diego, California, the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center is taking a variety of different precautions such as an electrostatic anti-microbial spray and antiviral treatment, a frequent supplemental cleaning protocol, temperature checks, hand sanitizing stations, a strict distancing and mask enforcement, and much more. To add, they are only open to athletes, stopping all tours and extra visitors from coming into the facility ( 

With the lockdowns and enforcement of social distancing, it was difficult for team sports to continue practicing as a team. Many professional soccer team practices and leagues were postponed at the beginning of lockdown, but they eventually started again. The US National Women’s Soccer League started on September 5th, 2020, and many Olympic athletes play for teams in this league such as Alex Morgan, Christen Press, Tobin Heath, and many more. The league has been “closely monitoring the spread of the virus” and “limiting travel” to provide safety for their players, staff, and coaches, and practices and training sessions seem to be similar to the ones before quarantine ( Likewise, the National Basketball Association imposed strict COVID-19 guidelines upon the athletes and staff. They upheld protocols such “physical distancing and use of face coverings, hand and respiratory hygiene, reduced use of shared objects and spaces, rigorous cleaning and disinfection procedures, and regular health monitoring and diagnostic testing,” and at the beginning of July, they limited practices to only 8 players ( Some of these guidelines eased a little, and recently, the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA finals.

One sport that seemed to be the safest sports to take part in amidst COVID-19 was running. Although huge events were canceled or postponed, training of high-level runners was unchanged for the most part, as they could continue going on runs and doing track workouts. However, Eliud Kipchoge, the world recorder holder for the marathon from Kenya, believed that “it was really hard to train” during the lockdowns because he “values teamwork” since he usually trains and lives with other high-level distance runners ( Unfortunately, on October 4th, 2020, during the London Marathon, he lost ending his streak of ten straight wins in the marathon. For the shorter distances, Matthew Boling, an Olympic hopeful and a track and field athlete, found fame on TikTok for posting his training during quarantine. He specializes in the 100 meters, 200 meters, and long jump. To practice the long jump, he posted a video of him jumping over 80 red solo cups, and for sprinting, he posted a video of him racing a car (@matthewboling on TikTok).

People around the world were angry when the 2020 Olympics got postponed. The Olympics bring us together, as everyone takes pride in their countries’ athletes. Students at Yorba Linda High School were also displeased when the Olympics was postponed. Sydney Fried (11)  was “sad when the Olympics got canceled because [she] loves watching [her] country fight for gold.” 

Although quarantine has impacted Olympic athletes in mostly negative ways, these world-renowned athletes learned to adapt to these unfortunate times. As the 2021 Tokyo Olympics approach, the entire world is excited to see these talented athletes compete against each other.