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U.S. Olympic training centers close, sending Tokyo hopefuls scrambling

Athletes were sent a message via a Team USA communication app Tuesday informing them that the state’s health department had instructed Olympic officials to close their training facilities right away, including the pool, velodrome, gyms and strength and conditioning areas. They won’t reopen for at least 30 days, according to the message.

“This is a fluid situation that the State will continue to monitor,” the athletes were told, “and the duration could be extended.”

The center is the largest training hub for athletes training for the Olympics. Several U.S. Olympic teams use the space on a permanent or regular basis, including boxing, cycling, shooting and wrestling. There were about 200 Olympic and Paralympic athletes training there this week, about 75 percent of whom are considered resident athletes, which means they stay in dorms and train at the site full-time.

Athletes can stay at the training center and access medical and dining services, but all of the training facilities are off-limits.

“Out of training for a month,” gymnast Sam Mikulak, a two-time Olympian and six-time national champion, posted on Instagram. “I know I’m not alone on this, how is everyone else dealing with their Olympic preparation in these times?”

Many other Olympic hopefuls have been displaced this week, including scores of college athletes targeting Tokyo and those who train at universities’ facilities — gymnasts, swimmers, divers and track and field athletes among them — who also had to find new training accommodations after campuses closed down.

The athletes who choose to leave Colorado Springs could struggle to find new training bases; facilities across the country have been shuttered in recent days, including private gyms, YMCA sites and many facilities with Olympic-size swimming pools.

“The health and well-being of all those involved in the preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is our number-one concern,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a communique issued Tuesday. “All measures are being taken to safeguard the safety and interests of athletes, coaches and support teams.”

The Olympic training center in Lake Placid, N.Y., was similarly closed this week. New York’s Olympic Regional Development Authority announced Sunday that all training facilities, in addition to all ski mountains, must suspend operations.

The site is the training base for many athletes who compete in winter sports, including bobsledders, lugers, biathletes and ski jumpers. Their competition seasons had largely wrapped, and many had already left the site. Similar to the Colorado facility, the Lake Placid gyms and training centers are closed but athletes who remain still have access to dining and medical services and conditioning.

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