Former US National Team Director Frank Busch: Training “Doesn’t Make Sense”

Former USA Swimming National Team Director Frank Busch added his voice to the conversation about the global COVID-19 pandemic caused by the coronavirus and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic & Paralympic Games.

“In my very humble option, I really do feel the Olympics should be canceled…  And I think the USOC should be the leader on that,” says Busch in an article by the

While the IOC has said that it plans to go forward with the Olympics beginning on July 24th as planned, Busch believes they should take place in 2021 instead. With the infrastructure already in place and so many swimmers’ and teams’ training interrupted by pool closures, Busch believes the USOC and Olympic broadcaster NBC should mount a campaign to postpone the 2020 Summer Games.

“We could go to Tokyo next year,” continued Busch, “Just postpone it a year; all the facilities will be there. Everybody could take a couple of months off now to allow this country and the world to get past this tremendous health challenge. It would just make so much sense if the USOC would take leadership and then, obviously, NBC.”

Many collegiate and professional swimmers are now training from home, though some are still trying to find solutions nearer their university training centers.

“I spoke to a coach who has several Olympic medalists and they are now using a three-lane pool at a YMCA in Florida,” says Busch. “I have no idea how you can properly prepare for the Olympics using 25-meter community pools.”

The United States Olympic Training Center (OTC) closed Wednesday on state orders as the coronavirus continues to push people into relative isolation as social distancing ramps up, sending home a handful of US National Teamers and National Junior Team members. Furthermore, USA Swimming extended its moratorium on swim meets until at least April 30th and FINA postponed diving and artistic swimming Olympic qualifying events until June.

“Why not just take the pressure off our athletes and allow people to get the hell away from everything for a couple of months?” says Busch. “It doesn’t make sense to worry about whether you will qualify for the Olympics or not when there are far more important issues in the life of every person.”

Arizona State Head Coach Bob Bowman also stated that he believes postponing the Olympics one year and making them officially “Tokyo 2021” is, given the many interruptions athletes are facing with training, the best thing to do.

“If they did postpone it, it would take a lot of pressure off this situation right now,” said Bowman in an article by the Associated Press. “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.”

If the Tokyo Games were pushed to next summer, then FINA would have to skip the 2021 FINA World Aquatics Championships, which are set for Fukuoka on the Japanese island of Kyushu, south of the main island, Honshu, where Tokyo is located.

Were the Olympics pushed to 2021, FINA could shift each of its scheduled World Aquatics Championships hosts back by two years. At present, the next four World Championships are scheduled for Fukuoka (2021), Doha, Qatar (2023), Kazan, Russia (2025), and Budapest, Hungary (2027). The 2029 World Aquatics Championships have not yet been decided.

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2 years ago

Many other countries have shut down pools altogether. At this point, it’s not a level playing field, let alone putting people’s lives in danger. Trump stated they expect the peak of the pandemic to be July, August or later in the US. The IOC needs to do the right thing and postpone.

PNW Swim Mom
2 years ago

I giggle to myself to read how he doesn’t know how people can train for the Olympics in 25-meter pools… welcome to the Pacific Northwest where most of our Olympians prepare in 25-YARD pools!

Reply to  PNW Swim Mom
2 years ago

Exactly. I believe that Jenny Thompson did it before heading to college

2 years ago

wow, wtg Florida … that state is the reason it’s going to spread all over. well done sunshine state.

Reply to  cafewhaopensagain
2 years ago

You mean the state that everyone came down to from other states, bringing it in and passing it around, before leaving?

2 years ago

“Humble opinion” but sound advice!

2 years ago

“I have no idea how you can properly prepare for the Olympics using 25-meter community pools.”

Oh I don’t know. That’s more than a lot of folks have right now.

Texas mom
Reply to  Mikeh33
2 years ago

Ha! Exactly! Our son who planned on training hard for trials after NC’s hasn’t seen a pool in a week!

Reply to  Texas mom
2 years ago

If he’s in Austin, tell him to go to Austin Swim Club.

Reply to  Coach
2 years ago

Bad idea jeans.

2 years ago

Wish you could “postpone” recruiting. Many people like myself are forced to train at such pools

Reply to  Virtus
2 years ago

They did postpone it…
You’re not doing yourself favors exposing yourself to this. No idea how bad this could effect you, and you’re talking about your lungs.

Stay home, ride your bike in places away from people to stay in shape if you want.

The Olympians take breaks and get back in shape. (Wish someone told me that in high school)

Reply to  Virtus
2 years ago

Nobody is forcing you to do anything.

Reply to  RenéDescartes
2 years ago

Even if a team is operating why are these parents allowing their kids to go?

Reply to  Xman
2 years ago

@XMAN, we all know the answer to that one 😉

Reply to  Xman
2 years ago

Sometimes athletes genuinely want to go to train. Some of
The biggest fights I ever got into with my parents during my high school years were about whether or not I was going to go to practice

Reply to  Yabo
2 years ago

Well my four year old wants to go the park today and started crying about it.

Oh well… Tough luck.

Reply to  Virtus
2 years ago

What club are you with that is still training? It was my understanding that most have stopped.

2 years ago


Joel Lin
2 years ago

I commend Busch & Bowman for speaking up at this point. As a practical matter the only sensible way to balance the equities is for the IOC to formally move the Games out one calendar year.

Reply to  Joel Lin
2 years ago

Think àbout it.
You would have sick athletes returning.
, Both Frank & Bowman are right wait next year.

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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