Dealing with Olympics uncertainty

Published on April 13th, 2020

Farrah Hall is passionate about windsurfing. The Annapolis native has devoted more than a decade of her life to the sport.

In February, Hall qualified to represent the United States in the Olympics for the second time in her career. She earned U.S. Sailing’s lone female berth in the RS:X class by winning a qualifying series consisting of three regattas.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to represent the U.S. at the Olympics again. The last few months have been really hard, so now that this extensive travel period and selection events are over, I have some breathing room to focus on preparing for the Games,” Hall said after securing the berth.

“I’m really happy I have stayed in it for so long and keep fighting. Sometimes I surprise myself when I think about how long I’ve been dedicated to this. In that respect, I’m proud of myself. I’ve sacrificed a lot of certainty and stability to pursue this goal, but the trade-off has been worth it,” Hall added.

Hall previously competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, finishing 20th in a field of 26. Marion Lepert represented the U.S. in RS:X class at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and placed 16th out of 26.

Undeterred, Hall chose to continue her campaign for one more cycle and was rewarded with another Olympic berth. She was training for the 2020 Olympic Sailing Regatta, being held in Enoshima, Japan, when the coronavirus pandemic exploded.

Hall currently resides in Brest, France along with her husband and that country has been under strict quarantine for more than a month. She has been unable to go sailing and her overall training regimen has been severely curtailed.

On March 24, the International Olympic Committee announced the Tokyo Olympics would be postponed until 2021 due to the worldwide health crisis. Hall was not surprised by the decision and still intends to compete in the next Olympics, meaning another year of commitment to the RS:X windsurfer class.

“I think many athletes had an idea the postponement was coming, especially those of us under the more restrictive quarantines in Europe. It was kind of like a creeping feeling of inevitability,” Hall wrote to The Capital via email. “We did think the most likely scenario would be a year postponement due to conflicts with other sports events and Japanese winters.”

Hall acknowledged having mixed emotions about the one-year delay but believes it is the fairest solution considering the circumstances. She noted that many Olympic sailors had their competition and training disrupted or halted by quarantines. Full report

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