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 Tucson.com.

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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AZswummer
6 months ago

Wise words from two highly accomplished coaches. I might be biased because I swam under Frank many years ago, but what he says makes total sense. Don’t make this decision be about economics…

RUN-DMC
Reply to  AZswummer
6 months ago

The economic effect of these suppression actions will linger for many years. Millions of children around the world will no longer have the opportunity to swim, because their parents won’t have the money.

Milodizang
Reply to  RUN-DMC
6 months ago

Better than their grandparents being dead…

Joel Lin
6 months 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.

Johnson
Reply to  Joel Lin
6 months ago

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

NoFlyKick
6 months ago

Hero.

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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