Track and field athletes train in Austin for Summer Deaflympics

While the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have come and gone, about 30 top athletes are still busy waiting and preparing for their shot at a medal.

The elite track and field athletes from around the country were recently in Austin training at the Texas School for the Deaf for the 2021 Summer Deaflympics. The event is being held in Brazil but has been postponed to May 2022 due to COVID concerns.

USA Deaflympics Track and Field head coach Larry Smith says, "Since COVID happened the last year and a half here they had to run on the street to get practice. Just until recently when things started opening back up and we came back on this track."

The pandemic had an effect on qualifiers like Janna Vander Meulen who says, "I thought I was in shape. Then I'm like wait. COVID impacted my training it kinda went downhill. But I'm doing all I can do. I just want to keep doing my best. And keep training and do what i need to do every day to keep building all this momentum up."

It's momentum all the athletes hope to take to Caxias do Sol which is the Brazilian city where the Deaflympics will be held.

While the workouts, which the athletes went through for a week in Austin, pushed them and is preparing them for the second oldest international games behind the Olympics it can be more challenging at times. Many of the athletes have jobs and are college students.

A lot of the athletes have to raise the funds to compete on their own Smith says because there isn't any government sponsorship or support from the United States Olympic Committee. 


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