In a move that many athletes from across the country feared was inevitable, the International Olympic Committee announced on Tuesday morning the postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
But for Missouri wrestling volunteer assistant coach and United States wrestler Dom Bradley, the postponement came mostly as a relief. With the closing of facilities in the Columbia area and social distancing measures keeping him in his home throughout March, it took him out of his training rhythm.
“It sucks, but at the same time people are relieved,” Bradley said. “People don’t wanna get sick, people don’t want to compete in a tournament where you’re not feeling comfortable.”
While a student-athlete at Missouri, Bradley racked up two All-American honors and finished his career at 105-15 as a heavyweight wrestler. After college, he won the U.S. Open and is a two-time Pan-American champion.
Despite not seriously considering retirement at the moment, he recognizes that this will take another year of training and the added work may be difficult. He’s currently juggling a job as a volunteer assistant coach, competitive wrestler and being a father.
“I wanted to make the Olympic team, win an Olympic medal and go out,” Bradley said.
Before the decision was announced, Bradley said that he still would’ve gone to the trials but added that he did not want to risk getting his family sick.
“Would I have felt confident? No,” Bradley said. “Not as confident as I was feeling in December when I went into the U.S Senior Nationals and I thought that I was in the best shape and had the best training partners.“
Bradley’s first year working with coach Brian Smith’s staff at Missouri has been positive for him because he is confident that they are giving him the right workouts to be successful. He expects to continue in the same role next season.
“I’m actually breaking down some film right now,” Bradley said. “Since we’re locked up in our houses, he’s having us break some guys film down.”
Former Missouri wrestler and Olympic bronze medalist J’den Cox was outspoken on Twitter before the announcement, saying that he would not compete in the Olympics unless the status of the global COVID-19 pandemic changed.
No, not if things haven’t changed by then. Because I possibly could infect someone else. If it were something that it would just be my burden then yes, Ex:Zika Virus in 2016. It’s not about me not wanting to compete, it’s about not wanting to possibly bring harm to someone else. https://t.co/KFEXjZhftB— J'den Cox (@MATrix_8692) March 22, 2020
“J’den is an amazing person, athlete, wrestler and a great ambassador for the sport,” Bradley said. “I think when they saw a statement by him… that means a lot for a guy who was a two-time world champ and Olympic bronze medalist. If he’s not gonna do it, why would most people go?”
Now, these wrestlers will wait until 2021 for the chance at a medal, which for Bradley, means the opportunity to get back into his earlier shape.