Canada’s Best Swimmers Perform To Empty Stadiums
The global health crisis has meant that many sporting events in the past year and a half around the world had to be cancelled or postponed. While the world finally seems to be returning slowly to normalcy, some of the best swimmers in Canada had to perform in front of very limited crowds at the 2021 swim trials. Usually, Olympic hopefuls gathered at Pan Am Sports Centre would be greeted by thousands of supportive fans. However, it remained largely empty as swimmers competed for a shot at fulfilling their Olympic dreams.
The Safety Of Athletes Is Paramount
As the Olympics are just a little bit over a month away, it is imperative that athletes limit their social interactions so as to stay safe and healthy. Anybody who accessed the Pan Am Sports Centre for the event needed to pass a COVID-19 test before being granted access to the venue. Furthermore, all visitors needed to complete a multitude of forms and wear masks at all times as part of the screening process. This is likely something that swimmers will need to get used to considering the fact that Tokyo’s safety protocols may be even more restrictive.
While limitations remain in place, Swimming Canada will do anything that it can to help players feel a positive atmosphere and energy. Alan Raphael, the organisation’s Marketing Director, is doing whatever he can to add some pizzazz to swimming events. For example, the pool deck has been covered in motivational signage and each swimmer is given an elaborate introduction before competing.
Athletes Unable To Celebrate
The 2015 Pan Am Games has largely been heralded as a turning point for Canada’s swimming program. Back then, the thought of empty seats at swimming events was almost unimaginable. John Atkinson, Swim Canada’s High Performance Director, has said that the crowd that gathered back them was unbelievably supportive.
The athletes have all worked incredibly hard for Olympic consideration, and unfortunately, they are now unable to celebrate with their friends and family or soak up all of the positivity that comes with a roaring crowd. Kyle Masse, a swimmer from Ontario who will be participating at the Tokyo Games, said that while the atmosphere is certainly different, it is something that swimmers were forced to accept long ago. He added that while it is difficult not to have as present a support system, Canada’s swim team is determined to bring home Olympic glory.