Tasmanian athletes are rebooting their schedules following the confirmation that the Olympic and Paralympic Games have been postponed by a year.
Wednesday's announcement by the organising committee was not unexpected but provided some welcome certainty for athletes.
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe fronted a press conference to declare that the Games, scheduled to be held in July and August, had become the latest sporting event to fall victim to COVID-19.
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Joined by a host of dignitaries including Australia's chairman of the IOC's coordination commission John Coates, they said the Games "must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021" to safeguard the health of all involved.
They said the decision was based on information from the World Health Organisation and due to "the unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak".
Tasmania's Olympic hopefuls at home, on the mainland and overseas welcomed the clarity.
Tasmanian Institute of Sport director Paul Austen said: "It's devastating for the athletes after all their efforts in training, competing and preparing for an event that only happens every four years to have had to deal with the level of uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
"This decision provides a level of certainty and allows athletes while dealing with the disappointment to be able to refocus for a future event.
"Athletes are used to dealing with setbacks both in training and competition and I'm sure Tasmanian athletes above all will demonstrate the resilience and character to work through this unprecedented situation."
Among the many Tasmanian athletes affected by the decision were rowers Ciona Wilson, Sarah Hawe and Georgia Nesbitt who were already dealing with the previous day's closure of Australia's National Training Centres.
"I think we could see it coming," Wilson said as she prepared to head home to Launceston. "I'm disappointed but I think it's the right call."
The 27-year-old member of Tamar Rowing Club said the closure of the women's and men's NTCs in Penrith and Canberra respectively had been expected following the government's decision to shut gyms.
"It's a very surreal experience to have been named in the squad for 2020 and then to be told that the goal you've been working towards for four years is now another year away.
"The fact it is a postponement and not a cancellation is a big positive. A cancellation would have thrown a major spanner in the works if we'd have had to wait another four years."
Echoing the thoughts of fellow Launceston Olympic hopefuls including triathlete Jake Birtwhistle, cyclist Richie Porte and swimmer Ariarne Titmus earlier this week, Wilson said the coronavirus epidemic was putting sport in perspective.
"We have not had the worst of it yet. We've seen the way it has escalated around the globe so it could get a lot worse and postponing the Games is only really a small bump in the great scheme of things.
"Now all that's been postponed, we're assuming next year will just be a replica of what 2020 was meant to be.
"I do feel life has been put on pause so it would be nice to be able to just fast forward and be in 2021."
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