Runners, from left, Shannon Rowbury, Morgan Uceny and Rachel Schneider compete in the women’s 1-mile run during the US indoor track and field championships in 2015 in Boston. Schneider, a Sanford native, applauded the decision to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The games will likely be held in 2021. Associated Press/Michael Dwyer

On Monday, Rachel Schneider was training to make the 2020 U.S. Olympic track and field team.

On Tuesday she learned her goal would have to wait. Earlier in the day, the International Olympic Committee postponed the Tokyo Games for at least a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s definitely the smart decision and the best decision for the world,” said Schneider, 28, a Sanford native who lives and trains in Flagstaff, Arizona. “I also feel that the Olympics represent something where the world comes together and given what’s going on, it’s probably not best to bring the world together in a physical way.”

A professional runner since 2014 after being an eight-time All-American at Georgetown, Schneider’s training was focused toward making the Olympic team in the 5,000 meters and possibly the 1,500 meters. In 2019, she qualified for her first IAAF World Track and Field Championships in the 5,000. Earlier in 2019, Schneider became the fifth-fastest American woman ever in the mile.

The U.S. Olympic Trials were scheduled for June 19-28, with the Olympics scheduled to begin July 24.

Two weeks ago, as pressure to delay the Tokyo Games mounted, Schneider was optimistic she would still get her Olympic shot, posting “100 days till the US Olympic Track & Field Trials begin” on her Instagram account.


“Up until this morning when the official call was made, that the Olympics were postponed until at least 2021, I was really holding myself to the mindset that they would happen, and they would happen on time,” Schneider said.

The IOC’s announcement on Tuesday came after athletes and sport organizations around the world, including USA Track and Field, said the Games not be held this summer because of the coronavirus risks.

The World Health Organization announced late Monday that 14,788 people have died worldwide because of the virus, including 1,727 over the latest 24-hour span.

Schneider said having her own athletic goal delayed “in the grand scheme of everything going on, it’s pretty trivial compared to people suffering on a much dire level.”

Whenever her Olympic opportunity arrives, Schneider fully intends to be ready.

“I think my best years of running are still ahead of me,” she said.

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