USA Artistic Swimming responds to Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 postponement

By Emily Falkenberg, USA Artistic Swimming, Communications Coordinator | March 24, 2020, 10:27 p.m. (ET)

In exactly four months, the Olympic cauldron would be lit in the Tokyo National Stadium signifying the opening of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Instead, the games will now be pushed back to 2021 as the world continues efforts to slow the coronavirus pandemic. This is the first time in more than a century that the Olympic Games have been delayed. 

“It was a difficult decision to make, but the right one,” USA Artistic Swimming CEO, Adam Andrasko said. “I am proud of the leadership shown by the IOC, USOPC and U.S. National Governing Bodies at this time. Athletes are why we exist, and these actions clearly demonstrate our athlete first policies.  

“As for the USA Artistic Swimming Senior National Team I am disappointed because the last time the world saw them compete, they showed that they are an Olympic contender,” Andrasko continued “We had built a plan that was going to give them every opportunity to achieve that dream. However, the plan has changed and they are a very young team that will now have more time to grow. That makes me very excited and should make every fan of Team USA feel the same way. We will continue to train hard, inspire and entertain the world. We hope you will join us in our now extended Olympic journey.” 

USA Artistic Swimming Senior National Team Head Coach Andrea Fuentes said that she is grateful the IOC made the right decision by giving athletes the opportunity to compete at their best in a safe environment, but also that the postponement only benefits her young team by giving them more time to prepare for Olympic qualification. 

“We have already proved to the world that our team only needs time to grow because we are improving much faster than other teams,” Fuentes said. “I am very happy we were able to compete in what would be the only meet of the year at the French Open and perform as well as we did. Even if our purpose is the daily growth as a team and not the outcome, this result gives us the confidences that we are moving in the right direction.” 

“The games being postponed was just an unexpected positive, but it will not change our direction of work with authenticity, joy, unity and drive,” Fuentes added. 

2016 Olympian, Anita Alvarez, was excited to hopefully return to the Olympic stage in the duet and team events this July but said this delay will give the team more time to grow together and only surprise the world more in 2021. 

“Of course, this adds new challenges and sacrifices that will need to be made from each of us individually and as a team for us and athletes all over the world,” Alvarez said. “However, it would not be sport if we did not have these challenges and adversities to fight through and the team and I definitely agree with and support the IOC on their decision to postpone the games.” 

With the average age of the team only 18, Alvarez emphasized that the Senior National Team is actually lucky to have this extra time together because the team has already shown so much growth and potential in just the year and a half they have been swimming together. 

“I have always believed this group can do amazing things; coaches and athletes together,” Alvarez said. “We have always said we just needed more time together as a team, and now here we are. The world has given us that time. All we can do now is be grateful for our health, our extended time together as a family and to stay focused on working towards our goal. 

Read more about the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 here.