‘It’s our life’: Michael Phelps offers perspective on Olympic postponement

Michael Phelps
TODAY
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Michael Phelps tried to put himself in the position of Tokyo Olympic hopefuls, who must wait another year for the start of the Games.

“It’s our life,” Phelps said on TODAY on Monday. “I’ve tried to replay what I would be going through emotionally at this very time if I was still competing. It’s hard to really kind of comprehend it.”

Phelps, who retired after the Rio Games with a record 28 Olympic medals and 23 golds, urged athletes to find the positive in the postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“You go through something for four years. We kind of know exactly when it’s going to to come, and our bodies are ready for it, and then we have to wait,” he said. “The biggest thing now is everybody to look at this as an opportunity, an opportunity for another year, fine-tuning some small things that are going to help you make a big difference.”

In interviews two weeks ago, reacting to the postponement announcement, Phelps stressed focus on the mental health of athletes.

“I really, really hope we don’t see an increase in athlete suicide rates because of this,” Phelps told NBCSports.com’s Tim Layden. “Because the mental health component is by far the biggest thing here. This postponement is uncharted waters. We’ve never seen this before. It was the right decision, but it breaks my heart for the athletes.”

Phelps, so open about his battle leading into Rio, said he still struggles with depression and anxiety and has a therapist. A day or two in the last three weeks has been difficult for Phelps, who at the same time is cherishing his extra time at home with his wife and three young boys.

“If you are in a spot where you need help, to reach out and ask for help,” Phelps said when asked the advice he is giving people. “It was something that was very difficult for me to do.”

MORE: Most decorated U.S. female Olympian on front line of coronavirus fight

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Eliud Kipchoge, two races shy of his target, to make Boston Marathon debut

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon
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World record holder Eliud Kipchoge will race the Boston Marathon for the first time on April 17.

Kipchoge, who at September’s Berlin Marathon lowered his world record by 30 seconds to 2:01:09, has won four of the six annual major marathons — Berlin, Tokyo, London and Chicago.

The 38-year-old Kenyan has never raced Boston, the world’s oldest annual marathon dating to 1897, nor New York City but has repeated in recent years a desire to enter both of them.

Typically, he has run the London Marathon in the spring and the Berlin Marathon in the fall.

Kipchoge’s last race in the U.S. was the 2014 Chicago Marathon, his second of 10 consecutive marathon victories from 2014 through 2019.

He can become the first reigning men’s marathon world record holder to finish the Boston Marathon since South Korean Suh Yun-Bok set a world record of 2:25:39 in Boston in 1947, according to the Boston Athletic Association.

In 2024 in Paris, Kipchoge is expected to race the Olympic marathon and bid to become the first person to win three gold medals in that event.

The Boston Marathon field also includes arguably the second- and third-best men in the world right now — Kipchoge’s Kenyan training partners Evans Chebet and Benson Kipruto. Chebet won Boston and New York City this year. Kipruto won Boston last year and Chicago this year.

American Des Linden, who won Boston in 2018, headlines the women’s field.

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2024 Tour de France to end with Nice time trial due to Paris Olympics

2024 Tour de France Nice
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The 2024 Tour de France will end on the French Riviera instead of the French capital because of the Paris Olympics.

The finish of cycling’s marquee race leaves Paris for the first time since 1905.

Tour organizers said on Thursday the last stage of its 111th race will take place in the Mediterranean resort of Nice on July 21. Five days later, Paris opens the Olympics.

Because of security and logistical reasons, the French capital won’t have its traditional Tour finish on the Champs-Elysees. Parting with tradition of a sprint on the Champs-Elysees, the last stage will be an individual time trial along Nice’s famed Promenade des Anglais.

The start of the 2024 race, which will begin for the first time in Italy, was brought forward by one week, a customary change during an Olympic year. The Tour will start on June 29 in Florence.

Nice has hosted the Tour 37 times, including its start twice, in 1981 and in 2020. Two years ago, the start was delayed until Aug. 29 due to lockdowns and travels bans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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