When sport was put on ice due to COVID-19, many stars experienced a hiatus in their career for the first time. some it reinforced their desire to play on indefinitely, for others in their twilight years, the virus threatened to prematurely hang up their boots for them. A few thinking that this was their ‘last dance’ are seeing the record decks being unplugged quicker than expected…
There is a vicious rumour within the sports world that Roger Federer is actually just a mere mortal. Coronavirus may possibly prove such speculation to be true. The great man will be 39 this year and although there’s a chance he could sneak in one more Wimbledon in 2021 before he turns 40, who knows when big tournaments will take place again.
Certainly, there is unlikely to be crowds if the Australian Open goes ahead next January. Would the Fed Express want to play on empty courts as he’s staring down the big four-oh? We shall see. The Williams sisters are both older than Roger – will we see them again either? It’s certain we won’t see the three of them compete for Olympic Gold again.
And speaking of the Olympics, it may be the last time we see Sir Mohamed Muktar Jama Farah in action. The 60-kilo British 10,000m freak would have been 37 at this year’s Olympics. He would have been 38 if it had gone ahead next year, but rumours are that 2022 is the earliest the Olympics will take place again. And if they skip Tokyo and come back in Paris in 2024, then a 41-year-old Farah would not be there. Likewise, famous Olympians Simone Biles (gymnastics), Pieter Timmers (swimming) and Allyson Felix (athletics) may have stood on the podium for the last time.
Karate at the Olympics
If athletes missing events is bad, then what about a whole sport? Karate was on the schedule for Tokyo for the first time but is not slated for Paris in 2024. It was something of a watch-and-see brief. Now we possibly won’t watch – and we won’t see. Hopefully, Karate gets a go in 2021 or 2022, but otherwise it may get the, ahem, chop.
“Would the Fed Express want to play on empty courts as he’s staring down the big four-oh? We shall see.”
Andrew Bogut, Dan Carter and more
Big, BIG stars are also considering their future. Andrew Bogut has said that he is now considering his future after a break in the action. Dan Carter is just back from injury but may not make a meaningful comeback after all. How long can Jimmy Anderson keep bowling quickies for the Poms? And has David Pocock done his dash in Australian rugby? There were moments we thought Australian rugby had done its dash, to be frank!
But some will go on forever!
Every cloud has a silver lining, though, and some players have realised just how much sport means to them. Man City and Belgium soccer player Kevin de Bruyne has said he wishes to extend his career an extra two years beyond when he originally intended, as this lockdown has made him realise how much he loves playing. And with footy on the way back, Gary Ablett Jnr and Cameron Wilson (fairly senior, now) are as keen as ever to get around the park.
As for crowds, though…
The comeback we’re ALL looking forward to is the return of crowds. How long before we can stand at the footy with a pie and take part in the religious experience of celebrating a goal or try is anyone’s guess. Watching on TV will be a welcome relief of sorts. Watching players in empty stadiums is an eerie feeling though and devoid of some of the drama that makes sport so special. But to be there and watch in the flesh, well, who knows when that will happen again.
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