Local Olympian reacts to Tokyo postponement

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The coronavirus has caused disruption and confusion in all of our lives.
That anxiety has certainly been felt in the sports world, especially
by athletes who train for an event that only comes around every four years.

"So it's not like you're going to the World Series every year, or you're a professional athlete. Now the beauty of it is some of the athletes that are really good are making money now which you couldn't do before. I don't care what Olympic athlete you talk to, it started early and just making the team is quite an accomplishment, says Bill Schmidt.

A world class athlete, Schmidt won the bronze medal in the javelin throw at the 1972 games in Munich and would later become part of the Olympic Organizing Committee. While difficult, he says the move to postpone this Summer's games in Tokyo was the right thing to do, " In the case of how am I training, where am I training now and what do you do about the Olympic trials? How are they gonna pick a team if there's no competition to speak of in any Olympic sport across the United States so I believe it was the right choice without any question."

The last American to medal in the Olympic Javelin throw, Schmidt says while the postponement of the Tokyo games buy's the athletes some time, it doesn't necessarily by everyone piece of mind, "Now they have to go ahead and say it's gonna be another year who are we gonna keep, the hotels were already rented the tickets already sold, flights already booked training sites already established by the various countries established and what do you do about the sporting events already on the calendar for 2021, how do you move the calendar around to accommodate those? So it'll be interesting."

Ironically, Schmidt, who earned a masters degree at Tennessee, would have been part of Team-USA in 1980. It was a different circumstance, but there was no U.S. Olympic presence that year as well with the Russia games boycotted by the United States.