Coronavirus outbreak cancels high school student-athletes’ dream trip to Olympics

Japan 2020

Traveling across the world for the Summer Olympics is the trip of a lifetime, but for some student-athletes in the Piedmont Triad, they’ll have to hold on to that dream for a little longer.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are postponed until next year due to all the COVID-19 concerns.

“Since we’ve been planning this trip for so long, almost like two years now, we’ve been excited for it to come, and now we are like, ‘Oh, we have to wait another year,’ but it will be worth it,” said Melissa Martin, who organized the trip.

Martin is a Wake Forest University alumni and former field hockey player. She’s spent the last decade taking local and regional field hockey players in high school on trips abroad.

In 2017, the trip was to South Africa. An experience she knew could only be beaten by taking students to see the most talented athletes in the world.

“It would be such a once in a lifetime experience, so I wanted to put this opportunity together,” said Martin.

Over 100 people planned to travel to Japan, including students, family members and coaches.

“Kind of being in limbo has been stressful for everyone, because already people are kind of stressed with the whole situation that everyone is experiencing now and not wanting to lose any money or not knowing what your plans are in a couple months, and if all of a sudden your plans can change for next year, so whenever they re-announce the Olympics people might have to rearrange their schedule to go,” said Martin.

The Olympics are known for uniting people all over the world. Martin hopes when everyone comes out on the other side of this health care crisis the Olympic Games will mean even more.

“It’s going to be such an even tighter group when the Olympics come around next year because you are not only going to root for yourself, your athletes, your country, you are really going to root for the whole world and just like how we have overcome our current situation today,” said Martin.

Martin says the airlines have been working with their group to rebook flights for next year. She is still waiting to hear back from the hotels in Tokyo.

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