Tom Bosworth was approaching the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the shape of his life, the holder of new British 5,000m and 10,000m racewalking records. Then he contracted coronavirus – just as the Games were postponed. The physical challenge he faced to meet a new target of qualification and competition in 2021 was immense. But so too was the psychological burden of uncertainty and pressure for what could be a career-defining moment.
He talks to Anushka Asthana about how he has met the challenge of preparing when a single missed training day can feel like a major setback – and the crucial importance of keeping athletic success in perspective alongside family, friends and everything else that matters in life. Anushka also speaks to Dr Kate Goodger, a performance psychologist who has worked with Team GB athletes across seven winter and summer Games, about the unique difficulties of getting ready for such a huge test in the face of the pandemic – and the lessons that the experiences of competitors such as Tom (and the movie Cool Runnings) hold for the rest of us.
You can hear a previous episode in which Tokyo correspondent Justin McCurry examines the reluctance among the Japanese public for the Games to go ahead here.
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