“It is an opportunity. You can either take it or leave it but the outcome is the same, the Games are a year and a half away. I think athletes, a bit like businessmen, will take the opportunity.”
Tom Squires feared his Olympic dream had gone. Every news bulletin, every tweet and story he read suggested the Tokyo Games would be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, a cruel twist at the end of a long journey for athletes around the world.
But with the Games only postponed to 2021, a gap has now opened and Team GB’s debutant windsurfer is determined to blast right through it.
After all, 16 years after Squires’ journey started, what’s one more to wait? Born and raised in Oxfordshire, the best part of two hours away from the nearest beach, Squires did not touch a board until he was 11 and, until last year, he only really saw it as a bit of fun.
He spent the first portion of his career as Nick Dempsey’s training partner, helping the five-time Olympian to his third medal at Rio 2016. Last year, he almost gave up windsurfing altogether to pursue his other passion of gardening.
It was only 12 months ago, when he was in Japan for an Olympic qualifier and relying on equipment he admits was “almost unprofessional”, that it hit him how much he wanted to become an Olympian.
Now, he believes the delayed Games could be a blessing in disguise and increase his chances of a medal.