British freestyle skier Katie Summerhayes says she is trying not to pay too much attention to the escalating coronavirus situation, but says it feels like “it’s all kicking off again” when it felt like it was stopping.
The two-time Winter Olympian is almost certain to go to Beijing 2022, having already met the qualifying criteria, with her place likely to be confirmed in January.
The 26-year-old GB Snowsport athlete competed at her second World Cup event in the season at the weekend in Stubai, but had to quickly leave once she had finished competing as Austria was about to enter a full lockdown again.
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British golfers and rugby union teams are also racing back from South Africa, where a new variant of Covid-19 is causing so much concern that the country has been placed on the UK’s red travel list.
Scientists have called it the “worst” variation yet, even though it is not known if it is more dangerous or transmissible, but with just over two months to go until the Olympics, it inevitably raises concerns.
“It's been so tricky during Covid,” Summerhayes told Eurosport.
“When we think it's all stopping it's all kicking off again. I just left Austria last week, because that went into complete lockdown again.
“I feel like we've just learnt to deal with it. We started travelling again last September back to training camps and competitions.
It wasn't normal how things were being run and how we had to act. If somewhere was to go into complete lockdown again, it would just feel normal.
"It definitely is worrying because I think people just want to get on with life now, don't they? When countries keep going back into lockdown, obviously it's for the best and to keep everyone safe but it's been a long two years already.
“I just feel sorry for all the businesses out there, because all the ski resorts were great, the snow was great, to see that shut down, it's just really sad. There's lots of people I know that have booked skiing holidays and are hoping to get away and it's just so sad to see the mountains quiet and empty.”
Despite the inevitable concerns that organisers of sporting events might have, Summerhayes says she will ignore speculation about the new variant until it is something that needs to be worried about.
“I've learnt to try not to pay too much attention. We're going to go away and we'll be as safe as possible, but sometimes it is quite scary,” she said.
“It does feel as safe as it can be. I think the worst thing is just the prospect of getting stuck in a different country, that is probably one of the worst things that can happen, but we still get to train and travel and compete. I just feel very lucky with what we've managed to do for the past year.”
A full interview with Katie Summerhayes will be published on Eurosport.co.uk next week
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