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Edmonton swimmer reflects on missing 1980 Olympics as COVID-19 potentially threatens 2020 Games

Swimmer reflects on missing 1980 Olympics as COVID-19 potentially threatens 2020 Games
WATCH ABOVE: Quinn Phillips spoke to swimmer Cheryl Gibson about training for the 1980 Olympics, only to have Canada boycott the games in Moscow after the Russians invaded Afghanistan.

The International Olympic Committee seems adamant that the 2020 Summer Olympics will go ahead in Japan.

However, with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, things are changing on a daily basis, so there’s no doubt the Games will remain up in the air for the next few weeks.

READ MORE: Tokyo Olympics torch ceremony downsized over COVID-19 fears

This is familiar to Edmonton’s Cheryl Gibson. It was in 1980 that athletes in a lot of western nations wouldn’t get a chance to compete for their country because of a boycott of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.

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The nations decided against going after Russia invaded Afghanistan.

“By the time we got to our trials, we knew we weren’t going,” Gibson said of Canada’s Olympic swimming trials, which still went ahead despite the boycott. “It’s a big letdown afterwards, you do all that training.”

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Gibson had competed in the 1976 Games, winning a silver medal in the 400-metre individual medley. She remembers that helped her cope with missing the 1980 Olympics.

Like many, Gibson is still hopeful that these Summer Games will go ahead. It’ll be a true test of the athletes’ mental strength.

“They’re gonna have to show some real resilience,” Gibson said. “If the Olympics does go ahead, it will be the people who were able to carry on their training and stay with the program even through all the crazy.

“Those will be the people who are successful.”

Canada's Cheryl Gibson competes in the women's swimming event at the 1979 Pan American Games San Juan, Puerto Rico . .
Canada's Cheryl Gibson competes in the women's swimming event at the 1979 Pan American Games San Juan, Puerto Rico . . CP Photo/COC/R. Warren
FILE - In this July 19, 1980 file photo an unidentified youth displays the flag of the United States during opening ceremonies at the Moscow Olympics. The United State did not attend the Olympics in Moscow but rather led a boycott in protest of Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.The IOC's ruling 15-member executive board will meet Sunday, July 24, 2016 via teleconference to weigh the unprecedented step of excluding Russia as a whole from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games because of systematic, state-sponsored cheating. .
FILE - In this July 19, 1980 file photo an unidentified youth displays the flag of the United States during opening ceremonies at the Moscow Olympics. The United State did not attend the Olympics in Moscow but rather led a boycott in protest of Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.The IOC's ruling 15-member executive board will meet Sunday, July 24, 2016 via teleconference to weigh the unprecedented step of excluding Russia as a whole from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games because of systematic, state-sponsored cheating. . AP Photo
Canada's Cheryl Gibson (left) and Becky Smith (right) celebrate their respective silver and bronze medals wins in the swimming event at the 1976 Olympic games in Montreal. .
Canada's Cheryl Gibson (left) and Becky Smith (right) celebrate their respective silver and bronze medals wins in the swimming event at the 1976 Olympic games in Montreal. . Photo PC/AOC
Canada's Cheryl Gibson chosen for the swimming team but did not compete in the boycotted 1980 Moscow Olympics . .
Canada's Cheryl Gibson chosen for the swimming team but did not compete in the boycotted 1980 Moscow Olympics . . (Photo PC/AOC
Canada's Cheryl Gibson competes in a swimming event at the 1976 Summer Olympic games in Montreal. .
Canada's Cheryl Gibson competes in a swimming event at the 1976 Summer Olympic games in Montreal. . Photo PC/AOC
Canada's Cheryl Gibson competes in the women's swimming event at the 1979 Pan American Games San Juan, Puerto Rico . .
Canada's Cheryl Gibson competes in the women's swimming event at the 1979 Pan American Games San Juan, Puerto Rico . . Photo PC/AOC