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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Coach Tom
2 years ago

I agree. Many athletes in all sports are struggling trying to train on a regular basis! The phycological burden is affecting most of those athletes . I received a phone call from a friend worried trying to find a poolTo train for his son in Venezuela , Trying to make the cut for the Olympics. Is not fair to be in this struggle so close to trials and the Olympics itself!

2 years ago

is easier for athletes, but the season puts the fat down and the weakness can last for a long time. As far as the Olympics are concerned, my view of China’s developments is solid: using technical sound systems and light art solutions to partially compensate the atmosphere at the right time and in full public. Qualifying can use silking, and it’s better to lock them up. The best ones are anyway compliant and instead of the test races, as in Estonia, there are more than 2 (swimming) or 3 (most of the areas) A-standard performers. In the event of an earthquake, there is no place to move. London was a good option but the virus rages there. Ironically, Wuhan in… Read more »

Anne Ludlow
2 years ago

Bob Bowman is right, POSTPONE. This is a worldwide public health issue affecting the entire planet. Novel Corona 19 is a new virus (ergo Novel), w no treatment protocols & no antiviral vaccine, & right now what the country is left with is reducing the rate of spread so as to not overwhelm hospitals & healthcare providers. Read ‘The Great Influenza’ by Barry, a history of the 1918 Influenza pandemic. It wasn’t the first wave that killed people, it was the unexpected recurrence several weeks later that did, & many of the fatalities were young, as in 20’s, 30’s & maybe 40’s. The Olympics is a two week+ series of multiple gatherings of 10’s of thousands of people, all packed… Read more »

Brian M
Reply to  Anne Ludlow
2 years ago

I don’t disagree with you, however I think one thing needs to be clarified since I believe this is one of the things that is freaking people out. IMHO the media is hyping up the premise of the “novel” aspect of COVID-19 as if this is something rarely or never seen. To me, this leads to people panicking more than they probably should. Every virus that has affected the world in recent memory have been a novel virus…SARS, H1N1 (swine flu), MERS, even the Spanish Flu in 1918. H1N1 was only 9-10 years ago, and we reacted very poorly to that virus. 61 Million people were infected in the US and 12,000 +/- died. If you are doing the math,… Read more »

The Screaming Viking!
2 years ago

It’s okay if they delay to 2021. I hereby decree that if they do I will be hosting the 1st Official OLYMPICUS in Joplin, Missouri in late July. I will also host the US Olympicus Try-Outs in mid-June.

Both meets will be timed finals and will be limited to the first 50,000 athletes entered. I am only charging a $300 facility fee and I will host an ice-cream social Saturday night free of charge. Yes, we will offer vegan ice cream even though it is an abomination.

No coughing allowed. You must pee in a cup without a confusing or violent incident to be eligible. High point trophies will be awarded to everyone because you are all special, and best… Read more »

2 years ago

Are Bowmans swimmers still in the water????

Reply to  Swammer
2 years ago

According to story published 3/20 (updated 3/21) in local newspaper (Arizona Republic (digital cousin his college team has been closed out for about a week but his professional team has been able to get in the water once a day. “Bob Bowman is training a small group of professional swimmers for the Olympics at Arizona State’s Mona Plummer Aquatic Center. But a larger group of his ASU swimmers are not allowed to use their pool due to coronavirus restrictions from the university and Pac-12.”

“They’re allowed to use Mona Plummer once a day where in a typical build-up to the Olympic Trials the swimmers would be training twice three days per week.
“We’re giving up… Read more »

Roque Santos
2 years ago

At the end of the day. This story will make the most since! Thanks Bob for standing up for what is right! #Tokyo2021

Speed Racer
2 years ago

The economic impacts are going to also enter into the calculus. In the case of the US, Omaha has already lost the college World Series, you add Trials and the hospitality industry that was largely built up for these events will completely collapse.

Reply to  Speed Racer
2 years ago

that may be true, but many companies and industries will suffer immensely, so that’s not really a reason to keep trials in Omaha in 2020. if anything, everything should be uprooted, and done what’s best for the athletes. if we need to go outside the box and host trials elsewhere next year, then i say go for it. it’s an absolutely crazy time, and it’s not our faults, but we do need to mend somehow…

2 years ago

It’s the responsible thing to do…eliminate the stressors that don’t need to be there.

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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