Athletes on the frontline unite with communities against COVID-19
Australia’s top athletes, some of whom are also nurses, paramedics and firefighters, are joining forces to fight COVID-19. These athletes represent Australia in rowing, hockey and shooting, and some have already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. These heroes and the sporting organisations they represent have shared their thoughts on social media about the postponement of the Games and how they are giving their all on the frontlines battling COVID-19.
Jo Briden-Jones, who represents Australia in kayaking, said in an International Olympic Committee video released in May that “As a paramedic, I have a front-line perspective of the current situation. While my Olympic dream is on hold now, the delay means I can throw myself into my paramedic work for the next few months to do everything I can.”
— Olympics (@Olympics) May 7, 2020
Jo participated in the 2012 London Olympics, but missed out on Rio in 2016. She got her ticket to Tokyo 2020 on 27 March, just after the postponement was announced. The 32 year-old Olympian said, “I’m not sure when the plane is taking off, but I’m excited to be officially named on the Australian Olympic Team for the Tokyo Olympics!!” Jo was planning to retire after the Games this year, but she is now determined to keep going until next year.
— Jo Brigden-Jones OLY (@JoBrigdenJones) March 27, 2020
Rachael Lynch, a nurse and goalie for the Hockeyroos, decided to increase her hours from one to three days per week at her hospital in Perth after she learned the Tokyo Games had been postponed. Rachael, dressed in her nurse’s uniform, told her followers to stay home via a post on the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC)’s social media page.
From stopping shots on the pitch to saving lives during #COVID19, discover more about Rach’s story and how you can do your bit during this challenging time: https://t.co/hHdfNgCFgD#TokyoTogether #StayHome pic.twitter.com/DVrDQWR6jW
— AUS Olympic Team (@AUSOlympicTeam) April 14, 2020
“We are athletes, we always adapt and right now there are much bigger things going on in the world,” said Rachael in the video. Nurses and goalies are both here to protect the team. Rachael adds, “They’re both selfless positions in that there isn’t a lot of glory, but I really enjoy it and thrive on the pressure.”
Australian sport organisations actively feature the athletes fighting against COVID19. Other featured athletes are Paul Adams as nurse (shooting), Nikki Ayers as nurse (para rowing), Aly Bull as firefighter (kayaking), Kathryn Ross as nurse (para rowing) and Georgie Rowe as nurse (rowing).
Olympians fighting on the front lines of the pandemic including our @AUSOlympicTeam paddlers @JoBrigdenJones & @alybull2 https://t.co/0vY8smVfo8 via @dailytelegraph @JackMorphet #StrongerTogether#TokyoTogether @theAIS @PlanetCanoe @QldAcademySport @NSWIS
— Paddle Australia (@paddle_aus) April 19, 2020
Japanese athletes are also stepping up to the plate. An article on the Japan Boxing Federation website in April featured talented boxer Arisa Tsubata, who is aiming for Tokyo 2020. The article reads “Arisa Tsubata, back on the medical frontlines, encourages everyone to check their temperature daily.” Arisa is working at Nishisaitama-chuo National Hospital as a nurse, fighting to deal COVID-19 a knock-out blow.
It is difficult to predict the future trajectory of COVID-19. However, we look forward to 2021 being the year when Australia and Japan can cheer these athletes on as they shine on the field or in the water, having helped us win the fight against COVID-19.