Tokyo 2020 - Olympic success hangs on who has handled the pandemic best - Katarina Johnson-Thompson
Britain’s heptathlon world champion believes there will be champions in Tokyo who would not have been in contention had coronavirus not put back the Games by a year. Johnson-Thompson says she was on course to reach her peak for the Olympics in 2020, but will work hard to go again this summer.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson believes it will be the athletes who have coped best with coronavirus delays that will be successful at the Tokyo Olympics.
Britain’s heptathlon world champion is preparing for her challenge at the Games, where her main challenger for gold will be her long-time rival Nafissatou Thiam of Belgium.
Johnson-Thompson’s preparations for the summer have been affected this year by an Achilles injury which ruled her out of defending her pentathlon title at the European Indoor Championships earlier this month - with Thiam taking it off of her.
GB coach Christian Malcolm recently said he had “no doubts” she would be 100% fit for the summer, but the 28-year old felt she would have been in her best possible shape had the Olympics gone ahead as planned in 2020, when it was put back a year due to the pandemic.
"I thought I was ready to peak more going into Tokyo - that was always the plan”, Johnson-Thompson told BBC Breakfast.
"The timing was perfect. It just got halted, but that's life.
The Olympics will be won and lost on whoever has handled the pandemic the best. There are going to be so many people who would have been champion but who aren't going to be because of the pandemic. I find that fascinating.
“All I can do is make sure I have the best prep”.
How KJT stormed to pentathlon gold at the European Indoor Championships
Johnson-Thompson also believes there needs to be more opportunities for people from black, Asian and ethnic backgrounds to realise their talent in Olympic sports.
"You think the Olympics is diverse, but I was surprised that a number of sports featured all white competitors," she said.
"I think there are people out there who could be in an Olympic team and could be winning a medal, but just haven't had the right support along the way.”