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Olympic medals decided by who has best handled delay

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Katarina Johnson-Thompson believes success in the rearranged Olympics this summer will hinge on whether athletes have made the best of a bad situation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Johnson-Thompson is set to be among the favourites in the heptathlon this summer, having ended her wait for a first global outdoor title by clinching gold at the World Championships in Doha 18 months ago.

The Tokyo Games were scheduled to follow in the summer of 2020 but Covid-19 led to a 12-month postponement, and the disruption has caused Johnson-Thompson to think some gold medal candidates might fall short.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson won heptathlon gold at the 2019 World Championships (Mike Egerton/PA)
Katarina Johnson-Thompson won heptathlon gold at the 2019 World Championships (Mike Egerton/PA)

“The Olympics will be won and lost on whoever has handled the pandemic the best,” the 28-year-old told BBC Breakfast. “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. All I can do is make sure I have the best prep.

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

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