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Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Olympic gold will be won and lost on who handled pandemic best

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Heptathlon world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson believes Olympic gold this summer will be “won and lost on whoever handled the pandemic the best”. 

Johnson-Thompson ended 2019 in the best form of her career, having broken the British record to win her first outdoor world title in Doha.

Her big rival, defending Olympic champion Nafi Thiam, meanwhile, was struggling with an elbow injury and Johnson-Thompson looked to have the upper-hand heading to Tokyo.

Fast forward 12 months, and with the delayed Games now in sight, Johnson-Thompson has had her winter disrupted by an Achilles injury, while Thiam was back in form to claim European indoor gold in Torun earlier this month. 

And the 28-year-old believes the topsy-turvy nature of her rivalry with the Belgian will be replicated across this summer’s Games. 

Johnson-Thompson celebrates after smashing her sprint hurdles best / Getty Images for IAAF

“I thought I was ready to peak more going into Tokyo – that was always the plan,” Johnson-Thompson told BBC Breakfast. “The timing was perfect. It just got halted, but that’s life.

“The Olympics will be won and lost on whoever has handled the pandemic the best. There are going to be so many people who would have been champion but who aren’t going to be because of the pandemic. I find that fascinating.”

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