THE Olympic dream remains the same for Sam Fricker and the Newcastle diver believes he could be even better in 12 months time as athletes around the world adjust for a rescheduled Games in Tokyo next year.
Following much speculation and the spread of coronavirus globally, the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese Prime Minister released a joint statement in the early hours of Wednesday morning saying that the major sporting events planned for 2020 would be postponed.
The Olympics and Paralympics, due to start on July 24 and August 25 respectively, are now expected to take place around the same time in 2021.
Fricker, who grew up in Merewether, attended Hunter School of Performing Arts and trained at Lambton Pool, said while initially the announcement seemed "surreal" he feels the new dates may work in his favour as the 17-year-old chases a maiden Games appearance.
"My last training session was on Saturday and we were talking about plans leading up to the Olympics. A few days later and the Games have been postponed," Fricker said. "It's very surreal, but it's not necessarily a bad thing for me. I get to reset, I get another year of training and I would like to think i'll be a better diver in 12 months time."
Fricker, who is studying year 12 at Trinity Grammar School and runs an eco-friendly straw business, said the "goal hasn't changed" in terms of making the next Olympic team.
He was chasing one of Australia's two quota spots in the men's 10-metre platform. Tokyo trials had been scheduled for Sydney in June before the onset of COVID-19.
"No one is really sure how long this lockdown will go for," Fricker said.
"Now it's about training at home and keeping in shape."
The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) indicated on Wednesday that athletes already selected for the Games, including Lake Macquaire sailors Will and Jaime Ryan, would keep their tickets to Tokyo.
Cessnock shooter Dan Repacholi won a nomination event on the weekend while adopted Novocastrian surfer Julian Wilson finished in the world tour's top-10 last year, but both weren't yet officially named on the Aussie team.
The likes of swimmer Thomas Fraser-Holmes, triathlete Aaron Royle, rower Spencer Turrin, equestrian Hazel Shannon, trampolinist Ty Swadling and skateboarder Poppy Starr Olsen were in the midst of qualifying bids or awaiting national bodies to make final calls.
The Matildas (Emily van Egmond), Sharks (Richie Campbell, Nathan Power), Kookaburras (Matt Dawson), Hockeyroos (Mariah Williams), Opals (Katie Ebzery, Leilani Mitchell) and Boomers (Ben Simmons) had all booked spots but hadn't announced playing squads.
In terms of Paralympic chances, coach Andrew Dawes said his athletic trio Christie Dawes, Rheed McCracken and Luke Bailey would "reset". Newcastle's Lauren Parker is world No.1 for paratriathlon.
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