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  • The games of the 32nd Olympiad in 2020 are awarded to the city of Tokyo!

  • We agreed to postpone the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 to 2021.

  • It began to feel real when we wanted to come back from the

  • training camp in Turkey.

  • We were among the last to leave the country. The airline sent us a

  • message at night, telling us there would be no more flights departing

  • from Turkey as of 8am the next day.

  • That's when it hit us.

  • My colleague sent a message to our WhatsApp group. It hit me hard

  • that's a really hard pill to swallow. All you really do is train for

  • four years; it's the highest goal an athlete can reach.

  • Whether it was good or bad for me personally won't become clear until

  • the qualifications next spring. One thing won't change

  • whether it's this year or next

  • the Olympic Games are my highest goal, especially the upcoming Tokyo Games.

  • I didn't think athletes' nominations would be nullified. I was surprised.

  • But also happy because it gives me another shot at

  • proving myself and living my dream.

  • When you become an Olympic Champion, it takes a while to realize and

  • understand what's happened. A lot of that takes place at home,

  • and not on site.

  • It is the main stage for sports. So this year's decision was pretty

  • huge and carries consequences. Which is another reason why it's

  • so important that they were postponed and not cancelled.

  • Thomashler didn't choose this downtime in the garden.

  • He had been training for the Olympic Games for several years

  • when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

  • The Games have been postponed for a full year.

  • In Spring 2020, the top-level sports world went into lockdown.

  • For around a week after we were in a sort of in between zone.

  • It was still ok to be on training grounds,

  • but let's say it wasn't welcomed. Gradually the sport retreated:

  • there were social distancing rules; and we moved the training equipment

  • from the halls to our homes so that we could stay fit.

  • None of us knew how long this would last.

  • Everyone has had to begin training alone,

  • and competitions have been cancelled.

  • Discussions about whether or not the Olympic Games could take place

  • began in March 2020.

  • We as a society don't know what's coming our way. We don't know whether

  • the Games will take place as a big event, or if it's a dangerous event,

  • infection-wise.

  • Going on walks has become a nationwide hobby. People are going outside,

  • and of course I am too. If you can't travel anywhere,

  • you explore what's outside your door.

  • We trained quite a lot. And then to find out the Games weren't

  • taking placeit was as if you'd trained for nothing,

  • because that was your main goal. It was really sad.

  • Marie-Laurence Jungfleisch is one of Germany's top high jumpers.

  • But she still wasn't allowed into the training facilities.

  • She started training in the forest, because of problems with the hall.

  • I went with her several times. It was outside, which was still allowed.

  • In the beginning we all thought: Ok it'll be two crappy weeks of pandemic

  • but then it will get better. Obviously that's not what happened.

  • It became clear that the Coronavirus wasn't just passing through.

  • At this point, no one knows how long the pandemic will last,

  • So athletes have been finding ways to train at home.

  • - Arms to the side, palms facing up. Right leg to the right.

  • A few weeks later,

  • Jungfleisch and her coach were allowed back onto the track.

  • Jungfleish competed in the 2016 Olympics. She came in seventh.

  • Many would be proud of that result. But not Jungfleisch.

  • We were both a little disappointed.

  • Because two weeks earlier she jumped two meters.

  • With two meters, she could have won in Rio.

  • After I came in seventh, I just wanted to be alone. I was so disappointed.

  • I didn't want to see Tamás; or anyone really.

  • The Tokyo Games are Jungfleisch's last chance.

  • She's in her early thirties.

  • But can the Games or any competition before Tokyo take place?

  • The uncertainty is hard to bear at times. I'm training for competitions,

  • which may or may not take place. I don't knowit's pretty upsetting.

  • "On this day I believe we can say that the first phase of the

  • pandemic is behind us."

  • "For weeks stores, restaurants and playgrounds have remained closed.

  • Now the capital is slowly returning to normalto the great relief of most."

  • The first phase of the Covid pandemic is slowly coming to an end.

  • And the likelihood of the Olympics taking place is gradually increasing.

  • There's no bigger dream for me. I absolutely want to take part,

  • and hope I make it someday. I structure my whole life accordingly.

  • My professional career comes second to my athletic career,

  • and I combine competitive sports with my studies.

  • Madeline Folgmann has had to stay at her desk much more often than she

  • would like during the Corona pandemic.

  • Her passion is the Korean martial art Taekwondo.

  • I was very nervous. I can remember how one of my teammates told me to

  • do a loud battle cry to intimidate my opponent, which I did.

  • And I can't remember how it all wentbut I know I kicked my opponent

  • in the head and she got a nosebleed. I looked at my mum and asked her

  • what to do. She said, good! And then I won.

  • It was a nice way to finish my first tournament.

  • The postponement of the Games has also had a positive side for Folgmann?

  • She didn't make it past the qualification tournaments.

  • When the games were postponed, those results were nullified

  • When the games were postponed, those results were nullified

  • I'm very disciplined. I make sure I have a good daily routine,

  • that my social life isn't too active or too late, and that I take time

  • to recover and rest. Basically that my life has structure. I need that.

  • She may be the underdog at the next qualification tournament,

  • but this doesn't worry her.

  • I've always had to fight my way through.

  • I've always had many competitors and I just fought my way through.

  • Once I'm there, I'll do what I've always done and fightjust fight!

  • The number of athletes who make it there is so small compared to how

  • many compete in the sport. But I want to be one of the ones who do.

  • Alexandra Ndolo is a German épée fencer.

  • For her too, there have been some positive sides to Corona.

  • I haven't been going to tournaments as much so I've had more time with

  • my familyand I've realized how much I missed that.

  • Before I would only see them for Easter or Christmas

  • and maybe my sisters in between.

  • But these months we saw each other a lot, and that's been great for me.

  • Ndolo used to be a pentathlete. She only started fencing age 21 and since

  • then, the sport has become an intregal part of her life.

  • On some days it's from when I wake up to when I go to bed. I'm always

  • thinking about fencing because you can't take anything for granted,

  • and must keep developing. You can't rest on your past victories.

  • Ndolo won bronze at the European Championships, but she wants more;

  • Going to Tokyo to take part in the Olympics would be a dream come true.

  • I was 10 years old when I first saw the games on TV. They just hooked me.

  • And that fascination has never left me since.

  • It's a huge sporting event, with so many disciplines in one place,

  • and top performances - the biggest event there is for most disciplines.

  • And I want to be part of it.

  • In addition to her Olympic dream,

  • Ndolo is focusing on one other project close to heart.

  • She co-founded the Kenya Fencing Federation in her father's homeland.

  • When I was in Kenya with my family or met friends there I'd often get asked:

  • Oh you do fencing, what exactly is that? With that white outfit?

  • Fencing wasn't very common and many people didn't even know what it is.

  • So I thought it would be a good place to build something,

  • get involved and help out.

  • Her efforts to bring fencing to life in Kenya are starting to bear fruit:

  • The capital now has a successful fencing school.

  • She really tries everything. Whenever she's able to,

  • she sends money to her team in Kenya. She's also sent us gear.

  • We keep it back there. We are very grateful to her for everything.

  • Way back, I was this kind of person who used to go to town and do some

  • evil things to some people. When I realized

  • or when I heard about fencing, it somehow changed my life.

  • It's exactly what I was hoping for

  • to provide kids and teens access to fencing.

  • It doesn't have to be super professional; building the structure

  • is already great. And as of last year, we're part of the International

  • fencing federation. That was a big step, and I couldn't be happier.

  • Never before have so many new Coronavirus infections been reported

  • to the WHO within 24 hours. Numbers are also rising

  • quickly in Europe, just before summer vacations and travel abroad.

  • Thousands of scientists are working on more than 150 vaccines. But none is

  • approved for use. So just how close are we to getting an effective

  • Coronavirus vaccine?

  • Thomashler is starting to feel the effects of his paired down

  • training regimen, and the lack of competitions.

  • Yesterday when I got up I was really sorewhich normally wouldn't be

  • great for competitions in summer. But right now, it's happening quite

  • often and feels like the beginning of my training in the winter.

  • It's just taking a bit longer than normal.

  • Despite the restrictions, he's trying to make the most of the 2020 summer.

  • Even though at this point he doesn't know when he will be able to

  • put all of his training to use.

  • As an athlete, you want to plan ahead.

  • My trainer would also like to know whether the Games are taking place.

  • His workout has also become a test of patience.

  • In the summer of 2020, the infection numbers did go down.

  • But in 2021, virologists are still issuing warnings:

  • Will there be a second wave in Europe?

  • We don't know. Honestly, I think it all depends on vaccines.

  • However then, nobody knew how far away an effective vaccine would be.

  • There was one bright spot for Thomashler though:

  • He and his partner just had their first child.

  • For me personally it's a stroke of fate that this happened now.

  • As an athlete, you're rarely home for longer than three weeks at a time.

  • So it was nice to be home longer now as a new dad. It also helped me

  • get through all the vague planning, cancellations and restrictions.

  • If she is going to take advantage of her second opportunity to qualify,

  • Madeline Folgmann also has to stay in good form.

  • The German coach will decide whom she takes. But it's up to me to

  • grow as an athlete, get better, and work on details that could end

  • up being deciding factors.

  • In other words, anything is possible. You never know what's going to happen.

  • Just like in this current situation. Always stuff you didn't expect.

  • But you have to keep hoping.

  • The Taekwondo fighter has wanted to show her skills to the national coach.

  • But this hasn't been possible because of Corona.

  • The constant uncertainty of not knowing is proving to be difficult.

  • Her familyespecially her mother,

  • helps her cope and give her the support she needs.

  • That's enough Mucki, no? Looks good, right?

  • Because I still live at home she's there for everything and can tell

  • what's going on deep down. She always finds the right way to get

  • through to me, to help and support me.

  • My family is super important to me. They give me a lot of support.

  • I don't see them often so when I'm home, we try to use the time. Even if

  • that just means having dinner togetherand enjoying some family time.

  • At long last

  • the Taekwondo national team is meeting for the first time in months.

  • But instead of the all-important fight training,

  • only individual training sessions are allowed this morning.

  • And then the worst case scenario?

  • One of Folgmann's teammates had tested positive for COVID-19.

  • Everything has to be stopped.

  • It wasn't a surprise that the course was cancelled. It's a shame because

  • we had a lot of good training partners here and team training is different

  • to always training at home, because here we can compete with the

  • best in Germany. So it's a shame. But we have to accept it now.

  • Once again, Folgmann isn't able to compete.

  • It's another setback in her fight for an Olympic spot.

  • But what about her health?

  • Has Folgmann also been infected with the virus?

  • Unfortunately, I didn't get to show them everything in these three days,

  • so now I don't know...

  • I'll go home and see how the Corona test turns out.

  • And if everything is good, I'll continue training as normal.

  • Germany has posted a massive spike in COVID19 cases with more than

  • 6,500 new infections in a 24-hour period.

  • The second wave is crashing over Europe and intensive care capacity is

  • close to breaking point.

  • In Germany, rapidly rising Corona virus infections have prompted

  • action from the authorities.

  • OK, and now quietly upstairs. You know what to do!

  • Marie-Laurence Jungfleisch is studying to become a teacher.

  • She is doing her internship at a primary school in Stuttgart.

  • Normally it would last for six months.

  • But due to Corona, her fall internship will only be six weeks long.

  • I like working with kids. And I see how quickly they develop, learn new

  • things and apply them. Helping kids find firm footing to go on their way

  • I think that's the best thing one can do.

  • Marie-Laurence had a difficult time herself when she was in school.

  • I used to be bullied because of my skin color and had to change schools.

  • That's not easy for a small child. Or for adultsthis doesn't just apply

  • to kids, but in general. It's not nice for anyone.

  • Her parents live two hours south of Stuttgart.

  • Her father is from the Caribbean Island Martinique.

  • I didn't know what was happening to my daughter then. She didn't tell me.

  • I don't know why. Her grades started dropping, and that's when she said

  • she would like to switch schools rather than repeat the year.

  • I didn't talk about being bullied. It wasn't because I was ashamed.

  • It was just an uncomfortable topic for me.

  • And I didn't want to bother my mother with it?