The COVID-19 crisis is unlike anything that we’ve ever seen before. It has impacted the health and safety of people across the U.S. and the world. There are more than 1,150,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., more than 3,500,000 confirmed cases in 187 counties across the globe, more than 68,000 confirmed deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the U.S., and 245,000 confirmed deaths worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, as of Sunday, May 3rd.
This global pandemic is also having a severe impact on businesses and economic activity everywhere, and sports are no exception. Athletes in most states, in fact, in most countries around the world, are restricted to train in their homes, and, if lucky, in backyards. All of the U.S. canoe & kayak competitions scheduled between March 2020 and August 2020 have either been canceled or postponed. The same is true of all of the competitions organized by the International Canoe Federation (ICF). For the first time in the history of the modern Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on March 24th rescheduled the 2020 Olympic Games to 2021.
In the world of sports, there is simply nothing more painful than telling athletes that their life dreams are being impacted by a crisis entirely outside of their control. While it’s impossible to know how long this crisis will last, I know that our exceptional canoe & kayak community will paddle through to the other side. To ensure that we get to the other side as quickly and safely as possible, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee on April 30th issued post-COVID-19 Return to Training and Sports Event Planning Consideration and distributed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Guidance for organizers of sports events planning mass gatherings during the current outbreak of COVID-19. Please take the time to familiarize yourself with the vital information contained in these documents.
Together we can, and will, overcome this crisis, and we’ll thrive once again. And when we do, I know that athletes will be eager to compete and make their loved ones, and all of us, proud and thrilled again. When that longed-for day comes, all of us at ACA will be ready to welcome you back and support you with determination, passion, and care.
In sport and health,
Rok Sribar, Ph.D.
General Manager High-Performance Programs