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Would Having the Tokyo Games Even Be Fair to the Athletes?


So fluid are the circumstances that five hours after Schmitt spoke on Saturday about having pool access, she texted to say she was hearing the Arizona State facilities might be “shut down completely” this week.

“All you can do is take it day to day,” said Schmitt, who created a makeshift strength circuit in her backyard, anchored by a TRX strength band, after the on-campus weight room was shut down.

The U.S. swimming Olympic trials are scheduled for June 21 to 28 in Omaha.

So upside down are the circumstances that Paltrinieri, who also competes in open-water events, cannot train in the sea because Italy’s beaches, he said, have been closed. Meanwhile, the American swimmer Michael Andrew is training in the Pacific Ocean because his San Diego-area pool was shut down.

So topsy-turvy are these times that the father, and coach, of the three-time British Olympian Hannah Miley of Scotland asked her to appeal to her swimsuit sponsor, Arena, for wet suits so she and her Aberdeen teammates would be able to continue to train in the River Don or the River Dee.

Miley was one of a handful of British Olympians who competed last weekend at the Edinburgh International at the Royal Commonwealth Pool even as soccer matches and other sporting events across Britain were canceled or postponed (as were the British Olympic trials, scheduled for April in London, shortly after the meet’s conclusion). During the Saturday finals session, a body pump class featuring rubber barbell weight sets took place in one of the upstairs studios, behind a set of bleachers where two teenage swimmers debated whether the swim meet constituted a gathering of 500 people, which was the cutoff proposed by Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s leader, for the cancellation of an event.

From Italy, Paltrinieri followed the Edinburgh results with confusion. How was it that his British competitors were free to gather and race when the virus that had effectively shut down Italy had spread across Britain? “I don’t really understand what’s happening in other countries like France and Great Britain,” Paltrinieri said. “They keep doing their things knowing that we had the same problem and our situation is getting worse every day.”

For Paltrinieri, who last raced in mid-December, the situation struck him as another ripple in a sea of inequities. “I’ll not have raced for seven, eight months when I go to the Olympics, so I don’t know,” he said. “I think it’s crazy to just think about competing in the Olympics right now.”

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