Bob Bowman Says Postponing Olympics to 2021 Would ‘Take a Lot of Pressure Off’

Former United States Olympic Team and current Arizona State head coach Bob Bowman has emerged as one of the vocal proponents of postponing the 2020 Olympics amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a column supporting postponement from the Associated Press’ Paul Newberry Tuesday, Bowman says that pushing the games back a year would “take a lot of pressure off” athletes who are struggling to find places to train.

“If they did postpone it, it would take a lot of pressure off this situation right now,” Bowman said. “People are scrambling. Most people are not training. If we had a little more time to get ready, that would probably be a good thing.”

Bowman stressed the importance of the current stretch of training in the lead-up to the Games, as well as having check-point meets along the way.

“This is the time when you’re hoping to see progression from one meet to the next, something that’s closer to the final product,” he said. “You’re kind of testing some things like race strategy. You want to see these little rehearsals for the big show.

“It’s probably more important than the training, to be honest,” he added. “That’s what makes the training so meaningful, when you’re able to learn something at the last meet and then go work on it.”

Overall, he pointed out that regularity is key to preparation, and that there’s currently no way of getting that — or of knowing what’s to come.

“What we all want to see while preparing for the Olympic games is sort of a predictable, regular rhythm to the competition and the training,” Bowman said. “That’s exactly what we don’t have right now. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, but it’s definitely different. We’re in uncharted territory.”

Since Bowman’s comments, former National Team director Frank Busch and Olympian Jacob Pebley have also supported postponing the Games.

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Ultimately I think this would be the best decision, although I do hope all nations could host some sort of National Championships in July-ish. Would still be some CRAZY times thrown down if they’re the final meets of the year for all swimmers.


That is absurd. Crazy times come with incredibly fine tuned training that is precise in daily detail right up to releasing an athlete for performing well at Trials and the Games. If there are no pools, no gyms for 99.5% of the qualifying athletes, training is disrupted, condition falls dramatically and so does performance. Athletes cannot be out of the pool for even a few days let alone weeks…months…without dramatic implications.


Leave it to the athletes to make comments, Swim Mom. If you don’t think Caeleb Dressel’s gonna throw down a 46.7 100FR and 49.3 100FL in July no matter what meet, I can’t wait for you to be proven wrong. If he can throw down PBs then, any athlete should be able to. All about mindset and keeping active in the couple of weeks max that swimmers will be out of the pool (then still have 3/4 months of training to prepare when they should already be in damn good shape by now).


I want still Olympic with emtpy stands. Japan virus cases is very low still.


Primary is tourists blocking. Olympic is only four years interval.


China is nearly clean but not absolutely safe. Without public is still possible..


Kristiina must be Russian.


Not a bad idea Kristina!!!! Olympics with no fans, competitors or officials!


Exactly… and we’d like to keep Japan’s cases that way…

Too cool for the pool

Listen to the goat


U mean Eddie Reese?

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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