First reported by SwimSwam Italy’s Giusy Cisale.
In an interview with Italian paper La Repubblica Sunday, Olympic champion Federica Pellegrini gave her take on the prospect of postponing or canceling the 2020 Olympic Games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pelligrini, 31, has said that the upcoming games would be her last if she qualifies. Italy’s Olympic qualification meet, originally scheduled for March 17-21, was postponed with the Decree of the Council of Prime Ministers on March 8.
On a potential postponement of the Olympics, Pellegrini said she hopes the International Olympic Committee considers the impact on athletes, first and foremost.
“The Olympics in Tokyo? If they get moved a few months forward, I ask with my heart only one thing: think of the athletes, not your interests,” Pellegrini said, translated from Italian.
On the subject of a full cancellation, she said she could wait a year to compete, but doesn’t want to consider the option.
“At twenty I could approach an important sporting event in any situation and think about competing in it, now I have to calculate everything to the cent. If they slipped a year, I would wait. If it’s more than that, I won’t even think about it.”
She again stressed that the impact on athletes needs to be considered and respected. Pellegrini also added that all athletes need equal opportunity to qualify, whatever the outcome is.
“With my heart I am confident. […] I only ask that there be respect for the preparation and obviously for the health of the athletes,” she said. “I can train in the pool below the house, in safe conditions, but what about the others? We must decide quickly and give everyone equal opportunities.“
Asked if her preparation has changed in the meantime, Pelligrini said it’s business as usual – for the time being.
“For now, no, I am in line with what is expected with my coach, Matteo Giunta, but the problem is how to behave from here on out,” she said. “To replace Riccione [Olympic Trials], in Verona, we will do time trials just between us. Even if it’s not the same thing, I try to focus on this.