PISCATAWAY, NJ — In four months, Colton Brown, a Piscataway native, was supposed to be in Tokyo, Japan for the 2020 Olympics this summer.
But, on Tuesday, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach both agreed to postpone the Games by about one year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Olympics were slated to begin on July 24.
"The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present,” the IOC said in a statement.
Brown was set to compete for Team USA in Judo. He competed and made the Round of 16 at 90kg in 2016’s Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“As elite athletes, we have to be able to adapt when we’re faced with adversity, therefore, I’m trying my best to keep a positive mindset and continue to stay in great physical condition. As the virus has been escalating over the past couple of weeks, I knew postponement of the Olympics were an option,” Brown told TAPinto Piscataway.
Brown, who is ranked No. 25 in the world at 90kg according to the International Judo Federation, is disappointed about the Games being delayed, however he can use the extra time to prepare even more for whenever the 2020 Tokyo Games, which it will still be called, take place.
Obviously, it’s a tough situation that we never thought would happen, but I’ll be able to adapt and use this to my advantage,” Brown said. “Now that we have more time, our preparation will be even better.”
Right now, Brown mentioned there are still four qualifying events that are set to take place on May 11 in Baku, May 28 in Qatar, June 15 in Budapest, and June 28 in Montreal. But that could change in an instant. The Team USA Wrestling Team Trials, for example, were slated to be held from April 4-5, but that got postponed.
The first part of the plan is to finish out the last couple of qualifying events strong and solidify my place on the team,” Brown said. “Once that is over, I’ll sit down with my coaching staff and put together a plan for next summer. I’ll now have more time to prepare, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.”
Four years ago, Brown got his first taste of the Olympics. Since then, he couldn’t wait for Tokyo. Brown came out of the experience in Rio stronger and he has upped his game.
Whenever these Olympic Games take place, Brown will be ready.
“I feel like I’ve improved a lot since 2016. At the last Olympics I was kind of just getting into my stride and I didn’t have a lot of international experience,” Brown said. “I’ve gained that experience now and I’ve also gotten physically stronger, faster and technically better. I’m really looking forward to these Olympics.”
This is the first time in modern history of the Olympics that a global health issue has postponed the Games. The Summer Olympics in 1916 were cancelled because of World War I and the 1940 and 1944 Summer and Winter Olympics were both cancelled due to World War II.
The Olympic flame will stay in Fukushima, Japan during the delay.
Follow Chris Nalwasky on Twitter @ChrisWasky.
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