Underdogs of 2020


By: Mystique Ro

The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) has been on standby since May awaiting the latest Covid-19 influenced regulations and restrictions. They had convened a meeting on July 15 to discuss plans for the upcoming 2020-2021 season. Prior to this meeting, it was understood that there were four possible options regarding how to approach the upcoming season:

  1. Plan A: Execution of regular schedule of international season without fans
  2. Plan B: Partial Season (second half only)
  3. Plan C: World Championships only
  4. Plan D: No International Season (domestic sliding only)

As of this past week, the IBSF has decided to go with Plan A however they are constantly watching for updates on numbers from the virus as well as restrictions. 

While I was eager to fight for a chance to slide on a higher circuit, I am in no way, shape, or form pushing to risk an athlete’s health and well being. As of this moment, the travel restrictions are quite heavily in place (as they should be) while enforcing certain restrictions regarding gathering in groups, wearing masks, mandatory quarantine,  limiting establishment hours, etc. This virus has created a new reality for us all and has forced us to become more aware of just how interwoven our lives are. 

Access to the Olympic training centers has been heavily restricted and the reentry process is quite extensive. Each state has its own guidelines regarding out-of-state individuals. North Carolina is still stuck in Phase 2  after two extensions. How does this affect me? Gyms are still closed. So this impacts my training and ability to stay on pace with my training cycles. The United States Bobsled & Skeleton Federation has a partnership with Snap Fitness, so fortunately I have been able to utilize that partnership with a gym just across the border in South Carolina. 

This off-season has been a unique one, to say the least. Every athlete has had to adapt and get pretty creative with training. Some are “fortunate” to live in states where restrictions either aren’t enforced or are light, to begin with. Some are brilliant in having their own “home gym” and can continue on as usual. And then there are the “jealous ones” who don’t have access to anything and simply have to make due. I was the jealous one for a while- at least till I got pretty creative. 


My perspective:

The way that I see it, we as a whole (globally) took a beating in the first half. It was rough, there were some unexpected stunts and surprises we could have never anticipated, but here we are now: the brink of the second half. It is important now to not give up and throw in the towel. It’s easy to say “F*%$ 2020, I’m ready for 2021” That’s what we said in 2019, btw. Don’t be so quick to give up. There is still so much good to be unveiled and received this year. Just like any sports movie with an obvious underdog, it doesn’t look too good at first, but with grit and determination they make it out in the end. Humans may be the underdog of 2020 and that’s ok; let the human spirit of resiliency not only get us through this year but help us thrive!


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Mystique Ro
About Mystique Ro 17 Articles
Mystique Ro attended and graduated from Queens University of Charlotte in December of 2016 where she received her bachelors degree in Relational Communications. During her time at Queens, she was a member of the women's track and field team competing as a heptahlete. At the end of her collegiate career she joined the coaching staff for a season assisting with the sprint and jumper team. But not quite ready to retire her spikes and join her peers in the quest for finding a career, she sought opportunity to further her athletic endeavors. She now competes for Team USA as a Skeleton athlete.

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