Olympic medalist Sandi Morris focused on competition, not controversies

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — When the pandemic began, Olympic silver medalist Sandi Morris faced a similar problem to many Americans: how would she find a new normal that would let her achieve her pre-COVID-19 goals?

She built a pole vault pit in her parents’ backyard with her dad’s help.

“I train at the University of Arkansas,” Morris told NewsNation’s Aaron Nolan. “And the first thing that happened was we lost access to those facilities. And so then we had to figure out how to keep training because you can’t just sit back and take a few months off of training, and then kick right back up where you started, you have to train every day to stay capable of competing at this level.”

She returned to organized competition in July 2020, taking second in her most recent competition in Qatar clearing 15.87 feet.

“It’s really early in the season,” she said. “But I was actually really happy with that performance.”

She’s tried not to worry about what might happen with the Olympics logistically. Originally scheduled for Tokyo in 2020, they’re now set to start next month. However, Japan has vaccinated less than 4% of its population from COVID-19, and foreign spectators will not be admitted.

Still, health experts around the world are questioning whether the games should go on at all. A reported 10,000 volunteers recently quit.

“Having to sit back and accept that we’re going to go do these Olympics even if the people of Japan don’t want us there. I’m going to try to take the most positive road I can because there are still a lot of people excited about the Olympics happening,” Morris said.

Morris, however, said she feels safe going to Tokyo because she’s had the virus and has since been vaccinated. Morris says she will follow all safety protocol once in Japan.

“If I go and win an Olympic gold medal it’s going to mean so much to me,” Morris said. “I’m going to try to take the most positive road I can. And I just can’t focus on [the controversies]. Because there still are a lot of people who are excited about the Olympics happening. So I’m trying to focus on that part and just keep training.”

Aaron Nolan and Char’Nese Turner contributed to this report.


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