Thu | May 28, 2020

Pressure off for Knight-Wisdom

Published:Monday | March 30, 2020 | 12:30 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer

Jamaican Olympic diver Yona Knight-Wisdom is finding comfort through routine and community while in self-isolation in the United Kingdom as the country increases measures to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Pan American Games 1m springboard silver medallist is confined to his home in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he was training for the now-postponed Tokyo Olympics. The decision, which was made official last Tuesday, pushed back the Games until the summer of 2021 because of the pandemic. Knight-Wisdom says the announcement has relieved the uncertainty, allowing him to train in a limited capacity from home to stay sharp and to protect himself. He admits, however, that not being able to train consistently in the pool has been a difficult adjustment.

“Now that the Olympics is officially postponed, we can actually take it back a step, and we are not under as much pressure to keep training as similar to normal as possible,” Knight-Wisdom told The Gleaner. “It’s just the pool element that I am missing, and I am starting to miss that more and more.”

While Knight-Wisdom has been keeping up a daily routine, he says he has found encouragement by sharing similar stories of getting through the current crisis through his ‘Athlete’s Voice’ podcast. He says that the interactions with both Jamaican and foreign competitors have been helpful in keeping him mentally healthy during this period.

“When you get within your own thoughts, and when you get within your own mind a little too much, it can be quite damaging,” he said. “Of course, I enjoy my own time, but when it becomes too long, I start driving myself crazy. So just being able to talk to someone 30, 40 minutes every day has been useful.”

Knight-Wisdom’s season had a strong start when he made the podium in the first FINA Diving Grand Prix event in Madrid in February, placing second in the 3m springboard event. He was preparing for the FINA Diving World Cup, an Olympic-qualifying event scheduled for next month at the time of the Games’ postponement. Like other athletes, he is in agreement with the decision to delay the Games.

“I think it is the best decision for it to be postponed because there would be so many issues if it went ahead and the coronavirus was still causing issues around the world at that time,” he said.