Coronavirus: Local bronze medalist optimistic after Olympics are postponed

Coronavirus: Local bronze medalist optimistic after Olympics are postponed
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 15: Clayton Murphy of the United States celebrates after winning the bronze medal in the Men’s 800m Final on Day 10 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 15, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Darke County native and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy learned of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games being postponed from a slew of text messages he woke up to Tuesday.

“I’ve kind of been on the boat of expecting something, some kind of changes,” Murphy, who now lives in Oregon, said.  “I think the eeriness of not knowing was the biggest stress the athletes had.”

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Murphy won the bronze medal in the men’s 800 meter run in the Rio 2016 Olympics, making him the first to medal in the event in 24 years.  He’s a graduate of Tri-Village High School in New Madison.

Having a chance to race for an Olympic medal again this summer is no longer possible, but he’s optimistic.

“Obviously, it’s a disappointment, but at the same time the Olympics are the Olympics and you can’t take that part out of it,” Murphy said.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s 2021.”

Murphy said he and his wife have been dealing with many of the same issues other Ohioans have dealt with in recent days. Including a shelter-in-place order that went into place Monday for Oregonians.

As far as training for the now 2021 Tokyo games, Murphy says not much will change.

“For me it’s a full-time thing, it’s all I do with my life. It’s really a 24/7 job for me,” he said.  “It’s going to be a grind for me for the next 12 to 16 months to kind of grind my way back to that Olympic competitive spirit.”

Murphy says he’s hopeful the games will bring a bit of hope to the world when they get underway next summer.

“This is going to be a really good opportunity to put the world back on that positive trajectory,” Murphy said.  “We can get back to normal.  We can get back to life and we can kind of move on from this, learn from this.”