Adam Burgess is hoping the Olympics can be the global party that caps the end of a global crisis – as it is confirmed he will still be a part of it all next summer.
British Canoeing have today confirmed that the five athletes selected for Tokyo 2020 will keep their places for the rescheduled Games in 2021.
That includes Burgess, from Stone, who had needed for fight so hard through a relentless qualifying programme and is set to make his Olympics debut in the singles canoe slalom event.
The 27-year-old said: “There’s a little bit of relief because we’ve been in limbo for the last couple of weeks since the decision to postpone the Games. Mostly I’m just excited to go and race.
“It’s important as a whole world community we stick together and get through this bigger problem first, then we can focus on sport.
“I just hope that Olympics can be one big celebration for everyone on the other side.
“There is lots for us to figure out in the background and it’s so unimportant in the grand scheme of things… but we’ve been given this opportunity for more preparation time and to figure out if there’s anything we can do better.”
Burgess has returned from his Lee Valley training base to Staffordshire home during the crisis – and could initially take advantage of the River Trent being 10 minutes from his front door to go for a quick paddle up and down.
That’s off the agenda at the moment due to increased restrictions – but sponsorship from JCB will help his training programme next winter and could mean an extra couple of weeks’ preparation in Dubai or Australia when it really matters.
He said: “I’m keeping myself busy with training and trying to deal with this situation as well as I can.
“I’m doing a lot of work in the home gym, continuing a lot of work with yoga, reviewing old training footage, racing and visualisation.
“I’m really fortunate to pick up the JCB sponsorship – that’s going to be even more important to me now.”
Stafford and Stone Canoe Club have leant a Kayak Ergo machine to help Burgess as he reassesses his whole routine.
“It’s weird,” he said. “I’ve been training on the canoe since I was 10 and most of that has been daily. I’ve never had this much time except through injury and it is tough.
“But Stafford and Stone have leant me a Kayak Eergo, which is like a rowing machine but for kayaking and I’m trying to keep that specific fitness up. It’s getting a bit of action for my heart and lungs.
“I’m doing gym work but I have to be a little bit careful with such a big shift of what I’m doing. I don’t have running in my normal programme so I can’t suddenly go running a lot. It would be a different kind of fitness.
“But I’ve got something massive to look forward to and hopefully we can all get through this sooner rather than later.”
Joining Burgess heading to Tokyo hoping to replicate Joe Clarke’s gold success at Brazil 2016 are Liam Heath, Mallory Franklin, Kimberley Woods and Bradley Forbes-Cryans.
David Joy, British Canoeing chief executive said: “I am pleased that British Canoeing has decided to reconfirm the nomination to the BOA of the five athletes previously selected to represent Team GB at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
“We are currently in unprecedented times and the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Games has caused uncertainty and anxiety not only for those athletes selected but also for those who agonisingly missed selection in 2019.
“This decision is in line with our policies and values. The athletes were selected for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, through a transparent and results driven process and it is right that their selections should remain.
“Nothing has changed other than the date of the Games. In slalom, we have selected our team early in the last two cycles, to give the athletes the maximum amount of time on the Olympic competition water. The team now have the certainty to plan their preparations for the Games in 2021.”