Veteran Cyclist Michael Woods on How the Tokyo Olympics Has Lost Its Charm

Published 07/21/2021, 7:39 AM EDT
Cycling – Tour de France – Stage 18 – Pau to Luz Ardiden – France – July 15, 2021 Israel Start-Up Nation rider Michael Woods of Canada in action during Stage 18 REUTERS/Benoit Tessier


The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are almost here. While the excitement is at a fever pitch among fans, some athletes are struggling to feel at home in Japan.

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With organizers placing strict rules and restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19, for some athletes, the isolated lifestyle is getting a bit much.  

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34-year-old Canadian cyclist Michael Woods is one such individual. For the veteran who skipped the final stages of the Tour de France to compete in the Tokyo Olympics, life has been mundane.

Going from one bio-bubble to the other, Woods said that while getting a solid result at the Olympics remains his priority, the restricted lifestyle has taken the sheen of the games. 

Michael Woods flustered by mundane lifestyle on offer at Tokyo Olympics

Talking to reporters virtually, Michael Woods said that though he’s swapped the Tour de France for the Tokyo Olympics, nothing much seems to have changed.

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“I came from the Tour, straight to the hotel here in Gotemba which is the Olympic cycling village. And the hotel is filled exclusively with cyclists. Basically everybody from the road race. 

It feels like I’ve gone from the Tour de France, which was a cycling bubble, to the same cycling bubble. I’m seeing the exact same people in the hotel that I saw in France. That I see back in Andorra when I’m home or in Spain,” he said.

Cycling – Tour de France – Stage 15 – Ceret to Andorra La Vella – France – July 11, 2021 Israel Start-Up Nation rider Michael Woods of Canada wearing the polka-dot jersey in action with riders during stage 15 REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

With athletes not allowed to step out unless, for practice, Woods said he hardly feels like being in Japan.

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“It doesn’t feel like I’m in Japan,” he said. “It’s quite bizarre. We’re not allowed to leave the hotel except for training runs. We’re not allowed to stop on the training runs. So aside from the fact that you see Mount Fuji and the street signs are in Japanese, you really don’t feel like you are in Japan.”

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And this according to Woods has taken the joy and excitement out of participating in the games. “This literally feels like just I’ve gone to another bike race,” he said. 

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Michael Woods will be representing Canada in the 234-kilometre Olympic road race. The race starts at 11 a.m. Saturday Tokyo time. 

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Shivayan Roy

881 articles

Shivayan Roy is currently an NFL writer at EssentiallySports. After completing his Masters Diploma in Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism, Roy functioned as a reporter for Goal.com and extensively covered the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

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