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Rochester youth athletes react to Tokyo Olympic uncertainties

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- Here at home, local athletes are watching Olympians dreams end early from positive COVID-19 cases.

We spoke to with some Rochester high school athletes about what this means to them.

Becoming an Olympic athlete is a lifetime of commitment for most athletes, and the youth athletes watching at home are feeling for those in Tokyo who lost this opportunity.

"I think there is going to be a lot of sadness and maybe some anger if things aren't followed through the way that they were suppose to," said Luke Dallmann, a Rochester high school soccer player.

As athletes of all experience levels watch the uncertainties of this years Olympic games in Tokyo continue, the raw emotion can be felt by everyone.

"They work so hard, at least 10 hours a day and they put their whole life into it," said Teagan Green, a Rochester high school gymnast. "And to just one day have someone say 'no you're not allowed to practice and we're postponing the thing that you've been working for your entire life since you were like three years old is just so crushing."

But until an official decision is made, Olympic athletes and coaches continue to train and push forward.

"Accept it and know that it's out of your control," said Ashlyn Barker, a Rochester high school gymnast. "But you've come so far and worked so hard already, you just have to push a little bit farther."

"The coaches that are there and dealing with this at the time, I don't think they're thinking about it to be honest with you," said J.E.T.S. Head Coach Daniel Nelson. "I think they know there is a possibility but they need to be training and focused at the goal at hand. Until they are given that exact news, they need to be focused on the day-to-day training."

Even as high schoolers, these young athletes have dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic first hand and understand the 'one day at a time' mentality that Olympic athletes from around the world are facing this week.

"Before and after the matches, we were always concerned, 'well is this next match going to be postponed or is it going to be canceled' and I think that same fear is with those Olympic athletes because just like us we spend weeks practicing for these games and those athletes spend years practicing for their chance to compete and play," Dallmann said. "So I think it definitely holds a fear in all the athletes."

The Olympics are slated to begin on Friday.

Sarah Gannon

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