After qualifying for the Olympic Summer Games for the second time in her career, wrestler Danielle Lappage has had to hold her breath through a tumultuous week of world news. Relief came on Friday, March 27th when it was announced the 57 per cent of athletes who had already qualified for Toyko 2020 will retain their status for 2021.
Olympic officials have confirmed that the 6,200 or so athletes who had already punched their ticket for Tokyo will keep their spots for the rescheduled games next year.
Wrestler Danielle Lappage from Olds called that news on Friday, March 27th a relief.
The 29 year old qualified for the Tokyo Olympics by winning gold in the women's 68 kilogram class during the 2020 Pan-American Olympic Qualifier.
She says it has been quite a whirlwind since then with the Canadian Olympic Committee announcing on Sunday, March 22nd that it would not be sending athletes to Japan this year. However, a couple days later the International Olympic Committee postponed the Summer Games to 2021.
Lappage is happy to have had some company during what turned out to be a very emotional time.
Throughout the process she has also been able to lean on fellow Team Canada wrestler Erica Wiebe from Stittsville, Ontario.
Lappage was motivated to get back to the Olympics again, after an injury suffered before her first match at Rio 2016 cut short her appearance for Team Canada. She says it was a long four years to get back, but it was worth it.
The Pan-Am Qualifier event in Ottawa on Saturday, March 14th went ahead. However, there were a limited number of spectators allowed. Lappage says her Mom, aunt and her boyfriend were able to be there to watch.
Lappage was one of four heavyweights to earn a spot on Team Canada for the upcoming Olympics. She joins Wiebe in the 76 kilogram class. Then on the men's side Jordie Steen from Tecumseh, Ontario in the 97 kilogram class and Amerveer Dhesi from Surrey, B.C. in the 125 kilogram class.
The March 27th decision resolves one of the key questions for marathoners, open-water swimmers and hundreds of other athletes whose qualifying process came early in the 2020 sports calendar, before the coronavirus started shutting down sports across the globe.
Still to be determined is how the Isports that make up the Olympics will allocate all the spots at the rescheduled games. Typically, the individual sports determine their qualifying procedures for Olympic events.
World Athletics president Seb Coe confirmed that all sports have agreed to the IOC's proposal that all athletes currently qualified for the Olympics will remain qualified for next year.
In track, he said that accounts for about half the places. He said the important next step is to develop a fair process for the rest of the athletes, most of whom have seen their qualifying events postponed.
Listen to 96.5 CKFM's entire conversation with Danielle Lappage.
(Contains content from the Associated Press)
(Photo via @WrestlingCanada twitter)