Area Olympians take Tokyo postponement in stride

Noah Lyles, of Alexandria, Virginia, celebrates after winning the men’s 200 meters at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Just call it the attitude of champions.

Bethesda native Katie Ledecky and Alexandria’s Noah Lyles are dealing with the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics until next year with a positive outlook. Ledecky was preparing for her third Olympic Games, having already won five gold medals; Lyles is a rising track star eager to participate in his first Olympics.

“I think we are all happy that we can take a step back now,” Ledecky told NBC Sports’ Mike Tirico. “I am reaching out to some of my teammates and friends, and we know we will all get through this together. We are just excited to know we will still have a chance next year and it is very easy to change our plans.”

Ledecky has won five Olympic gold medals and was likely set to compete in five events at the 2020 games. With swimming pools shut down near Stanford where Ledecky attends school, the postponement of the Olympics is also a relief because it was impossible to maintain a regular training schedule.

Bethesda swimmer Katie Ledecky holds up one of the four gold medals she won during the 2016 Rio Olympics during a visit to WTOP on Monday, Aug. 29, 2016. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)

“I don’t see it as a setback,” Ledecky told Tirico. “It is just a new challenge that we are all ready to adapt to. It is going to take a couple of weeks to put together some plans. We are going to try and shape with some good dry-land activity in some apartment.”

Lyles is on top of the track world. He turned pro after he graduated from T.C. Williams High School in 2016, and won the gold medal in the 200 meters at the World Athletic Championships last October.

“It’s now about figuring out how we are going to get ready for the Olympics next year,” Lyles said. “We still want to maintain fitness because … just because the Olympics is gone for now doesn’t mean I don’t want to run. My first love is running and I am going to do that.”

When inside, Lyles, like everyone else, is looking for things to do. He is working on his music with a friend and, yes, playing video games. He likes Overwatch and Dead By Daylight, but says the latter game stresses him out.

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson is Senior Sports Director and morning sports anchor. He first arrived at WTOP in 1989, left in 1992 and returned in 1995. He is a three-time winner of the A.I.R. award as best radio sportscaster in D.C. In 2008 he won the Edward R. Murrow award for best writing for sports commentaries.

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