Grant Hackett Discusses Importance of Staying Fully Invested on Tokyo Goals


Grant Hackett Discusses Importance of Staying Fully Invested on Tokyo Goals

When it comes to athletes who know a thing or two about excelling at a peak level, Grant Hackett owns a high degree. So, when the Australian distance legend discussed his thoughts on remaining focused for a delayed Olympiad, it is not surprising that he made several valid and valuable points. Hackett made his comments in an interview with top sports journalist Phil Lutton of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

The COVID-19 pandemic and postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo to next summer have severely disrupted training for athletes around the world. In addition to Olympic hopefuls having to worry about when and where they could return to training, they have also been asked to reset their minds on peaking in the Summer of 2021.

One of the great distance swimmers in history, highlighted by Olympic titles in the 1500 freestyle in 2000 and 2004, Hackett recognized the difficulty of the situation in his interview with Lutton.

“It would be difficult for anybody,” Hackett said. “We’re in a world of so much uncertainty, but when you are training for a specific life event that probably comes around once for most people and the goalposts keep shifting all the time, that’s very destabilizing.

“Being an athlete right now would be hugely challenging. People put their whole life on hold for the Olympics. You stop studying, you stop doing other things, you stop being a well-rounded person. That’s the kind of focus it takes to get there because of the degree of competitiveness, which is really hard to compare that to most things in life.”

Some of the question marks ahead of next year’s Olympic Games, provided COVID-19 is neutralized and the Tokyo Games take place, is who will have benefited most from the delay, and who will have been hurt by the postponement? Athletes returning from injury or just reaching their peak are in the camp of those most likely to benefit. Elder statesmen toward the end of their careers are the most likely to be bitten by the delay.

Meanwhile, Hackett emphasized the significance of being fully committed to training for Tokyo – both physically and mentally. The mental aspect could be the most damning, as a lack of investment – even minimally – could be the difference between achieving goals and falling short.

“The worst thing as an athlete right now is to be in that halfway house,” Hackett said. “You have to train for it like it’s on, believe it’s on and commit to that degree; commit like it’s happening and if it doesn’t happen, so be it.

“A far worse situation is getting there and being that person who was hesitating in elements of their preparation and that might truly cost you. One thing I do know about the Olympic Games is you can’t give 99.9 percent to it. If you do that, you will lose.”

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