Shaken by fear of coronavirus in his family, Olympic great Edwin Moses uncertain Tokyo will be safe to host Summer Games in 2021 – The Denver Post
Crouching in Georgia, certain his tomato plants will reach for the sun as the invisible fog of the coronavirus begins to recede, Edwin Moses feels blessed. Working the red clay of a vegetable patch, Moses is safe at home, a 64-year-old legend filled with gratitude for health as solid as Olympic gold.
The greatest hurdler who ever lived lacks nothing… except toilet paper, which hoarders can’t keep their mittens dirty.
“I used to spin that roll of toilet paper like a roulette wheel. Now I’m spinning it like I’m breaking a safe, ”Moses told me, as the laughter shook his chest, with a cheerful reminder that the best thing that can be passed from person to person. is a smile.
It’s a grateful smile that warms the heart of a great champion, where Moses keeps a close eye on the cherished story of a loved one who was swallowed by the coronavirus but managed to escape.
At a time when sport was sidelined by COVID-19, I wanted to discuss how Moses handled the boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics, which robbed him of an almost certain victory at one point. where he was unbeatable in the 400-meter hurdles, a race he won an incredible 122 consecutive times in a full decade of domination that has left world-class competitors in awe of its dust.
“I was devastated,” Moses recalls, rubbing the emotional scars that remain four decades after being used by President Jimmy Carter as a political pawn in the Cold War against Russia.
So, Moses offered heartfelt empathy for superstar gymnast Simone Biles and all other current US Olympians, all now in limbo, full of hope but uncertain whether the virus-postponed Tokyo Summer Games will take place in Canada. 2021. Yet I detected something else, something bigger and more important than a delayed Olympic dream, tugging in the shadow of the old hurdler’s mind.
“I have a very close family member who has contracted (coronavirus),” Moses said, wondering if he should share the details of a deeply personal story. “I’ll tell you, because I think it’s important to know. It’s my son. He is a professional volleyball player in Spain.
Playing sports is often a difficult path for the son of a legend, as the inevitable comparisons prove almost impossible to shake. Julian Moses made a name for himself in the volleyball arena, not a track and field stadium, at Lewis University in Ill., Then traveled last fall to join a club team in Ibiza , an idyllic island in the Mediterranean Sea.
Feeling ill shortly after the holidays with a cough and a sore throat, Julian was “one of the first victims,” Moses said, as I clung to every word a worried father said in the morning. phone. “He was tested and came out positive. “
COVID-19, which has ravaged Spain with nearly 14,000 dead, won’t steal Julian from those who love a 24-year-old athlete with a busy life ahead of him. He made a full recovery while in quarantine in the care of his mother, a resident of Germany.
“We got him out of Spain just in time. I said, ‘We have to get you out of there. Period.’ It’s the best decision we’ve made, ”said Moses. “He was one of the lucky ones. “
Failure was never an option for Moses. Refusing to be defeated by the boycott of 1980, he returned to win the second Olympic gold in a brilliant career at the Los Angeles Summer Games four years later. He is therefore uniquely qualified to understand the stress currently being felt by Biles, whose precise mental and physical preparation for Tokyo now needs to be rethought after the coronavirus destroyed all of our plans for 2020.
“For (Biles) to wait another year is going to be a challenge. As the athletes know, things happen in a year. You can get injured.… And she has a lot to gain financially from the Olympics” said Moses, who travels the world regularly, consulting top sports medicine researchers, as president of the US Anti-Doping Agency.
When I looked for reassurance we will return to normal and the Summer Games will lift the spirits of the world on dates rescheduled in Japan next year, Moses raised a stern hand of caution. A pandemic can spread and erupt like wildfire, and Moses is unsure whether the coronavirus will be contained enough to allow more than 11,000 athletes to safely converge in Tokyo in 2021.
“Uh, we’ll see. … I’m waiting for more data, ”said Moses, declining to assume that the Olympics can be safely held until it is known when an effective antidote or vaccine for COVID-19 will be widely available.
Like the Cold War, a stubborn Olympic competition unsullied by drug cheaters and every challenge, big or small, that Moses faced in his life, he believes America can move on. side of this pandemic stronger, provided everyone in the country realizes what is going on. stake in the fight against the coronavirus.
“If you believe this isn’t going to bother you, or if you are going to be saved at the end of the day by a force that you believe in… there might be some surprises,” Moses said. “If these aren’t surprises for you, someone very close to you will probably have figured it out and have a very difficult time.”
The sight of empty shelves in the grocery store, where toilet paper we took for granted is gone, gives Moses reason to laugh at the absurdity of our human condition. But the coronavirus, stealthy and fast enough to take on the son of an Olympic legend, is deadly serious, an enemy so malicious it can only be defeated by science and vigilance.
“This is no joke,” warned Moses. “This is not a joke.”