Local Olympian continues to train amid coronavirus concerns

Published: Mar. 22, 2020 at 10:10 PM EDT
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There are growing calls from around the world to postpone this summer’s Tokyo Olympics over coronavirus concerns.

16 News Now caught up with local Olympian, Hannah Roberts, who is still training for the biggest competition of her life.

“It’s definitely scary,” Roberts said. “Obviously any kind of illness like that is pretty scary.”

Even during a pandemic, for Hannah Roberts, it’s business as usual.

“We’re going about training and in the gym and everything the exact same way before all of this came up so it’s good to stay in shape,” Roberts said. “We’re not going to change much.”

The Buchanan native has been in North Carolina for about a week training for the Tokyo Olympics in BMX Freestyle.

She qualified for the games back in early February.

“For me it’s not as bad because no matter what I have a spot,” Roberts said. “I know for a few countries and for a few of my competitors, they’re in a very rough situation with all of the events that are getting canceled.”

The skatepark Roberts and her teammates have been using is now closed to the public amid coronavirus concerns.

Roberts says everyone is trying to stay calm.

“We try not to freak out about it. It puts too much stress in and really messes with our heads when we’re trying to ride if we’re focused on something like that,” Roberts said. “So we’re just going about everything like it’s not happening. Just taking extra precautions when we get back from public places is all we’re doing.”

Roberts expects for the course walk through in April to be canceled, but going in blind to a race is something she’s used to.

“I guess if I’m not looking at it, none of the other riders are looking at it,” Roberts said. “Nobody gets a literal advantage. We’re all going to go in blind. We have a full week to practice so it’s a little bit easier than our world cups I guess.”

At only 18-years-old, Hannah Roberts knows she’ll have another chance if the Games don’t happen.

“It’s definitely going to fire me up more,” Roberts said. “It would be one thing if I had to sit it. If it doesn’t happen this year, then there’s always 2024 for so that’s a possibility. So I know it sucks for the people who are older and this is kind of their one-stop shop. But for me 2024 is the next thing if this doesn’t happen.”

She’s hoping for the best.

“I hope it goes on but obviously we don’t want to get sick,” Roberts said. “We don’t want to fight with that one.”

Now Hannah says when she’s not riding, she’s watching videos of herself at home, so she is already practicing social distancing.

The IOC held an emergency meeting on Sunday and announced it will make a decision within the next four weeks as to whether or not to postpone the Summer Olympics.