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Coronavirus: Edmonton athlete still has hope for a fourth Olympics appearance

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WATCH ABOVE: Angela Whyte is looking to qualify for her fourth Olympics in either hurdles or heptathlon, but her window to qualify continues to shrink during the COVID-19 pandemic. Quinn Phillips explains – Mar 20, 2020

Angela Whyte competed at her first Olympics in Athens in 2004, where she finished sixth in the 100-metre hurdles.

She would go on to qualify and compete at the Games in 2008 and 2016. It was after the Olympics in Rio De Janeiro she decided to try for a fourth appearance.

“I made the decision to quit my job, move back to Canada, start with a new training group, a new coach,” said Whyte.

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The road to this Games hasn’t been easy. She suffered from a nagging hamstring injury, which ended up taking surgery to fix.

“I actually found out that I had some uterine fibroids that were potentially causing some nerve issue with the hamstring,” said Whyte. “I actually had surgery in order to try and get ready for this year.”

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With the COVID-19 pandemic though, her opportunity to represent Canada is in jeopardy, even if the Games do go ahead starting July 24.

Because of the injury, she didn’t get to qualify through one of Athletics Canada’s selection processes. The governing body has been pre-qualifying and selecting some athletes by taking the average of their top five performances in the last year and giving them a score.

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Whyte hasn’t been able to compete at her top level prior to now, so she was counting on track meets this spring both in Canada and the United States.

“As the virus continues to spread, more and more meets are starting to cancel,” said Whyte. “I’ve worked really hard rehabbing, doing the things that I need to do to be healthier this year and was looking forward to going to these meets and hopefully getting one of the automatic qualifying marks for the Games.

“This is probably some of the best I’ve felt in the last two to three years.”

The national championships might end up being her final chance.

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Olympic cauldron lit ahead of Tokyo Games – Mar 19, 2020

The multi events nationals, which is where she would compete in heptathlon, are in May, which Whyte is concerned will be cancelled.

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So that leaves the 100-metre hurdles at the Track and Field Championships in late June. She’ll have to hit a qualifying standard to be considered.

“It would still be up to Athletics Canada to decide whether or not that is enough for somebody like myself to go to the Games.”

Whyte said that selfishly, she wouldn’t mind seeing the 2020 Olympics postponed until next summer.

“I could probably push for one more year,” said Whyte. “It would be difficult because I want to kind of close the book on this chapter of my life and move on. But yeah, I could best case scenario postpone for one more year.”

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