US sprint star Allyson Felix says she'll continue her pursuit of Olympic glory despite the postponement of the Tokyo Games in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
After 16 years at the pinnacle of her sport, the 34-year-old American is in the last lap of a glittering career that has seen her earn 13 World Championship titles and six Olympic golds - the most of any female track and field athlete.
"I am not sure what the future holds, but my goals have not changed," she wrote in an article posted on Time.com on Tuesday, after the International Olympic Committee confirmed the Tokyo Olympics would be pushed back to "no later than summer 2021."
"I still hope to experience the feeling of standing on that podium in 2021 and I hope my journey to try to get back there will inspire you to keep moving forward."
Felix said that after learning the Games would be postponed she felt "alone, afraid and unsure."
She noted that the news would resonate differently with diehard sports fans, casual Olympics observers and Olympic hopefuls - who might find it "a crushing blow."
"I've woken up every morning for the last 6,055 days, since I was 17 years old, relentlessly pursuing Olympic Gold," she wrote. "This has been a sobering reminder that we are not owed our dreams, those dreams do not come free and you do not accomplish them alone."
She also noted that the sense of loss felt by would-be Olympians on Tuesday was relative amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has resulted in more than 18,000 deaths and more than 400,000 declared infections worldwide.
With a third of the world under lockdown in hopes of slowing the spread of the disease, Felix said that plenty of workers and business owners were facing job loss and uncertainty, just as parents wondered what the world would look like for their children in six months.
"We need to grieve our losses and collectively grieve the losses of others, but we have to hold onto hope," Felix said.
"Right now things are uncertain, we are facing tremendous challenges and loss of an unthinkable proportion," she said. "But as a global community we have to commit to waking up tomorrow morning and finding a new way to relentlessly pursue our audacious dreams."