Winsor’s head track and field coach Shalise Manza Young spent twenty-one days this summer covering the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. For Mrs. Young, an award-winning sports journalist and columnist for Yahoo Sports, writing about the games was not only a career bucket-list goal checked but a dream realized.
Working under strict Covid protocols, Mrs. Young saw every track and field race and event, including two world records in the men's 400 meter hurdles and women's 400 meter hurdles. She also witnessed Allyson Felix capture a surprise bronze in the 400 meter as well as gold as part of the U.S. women's 4 x 400 meter relay. These two medals made Felix the most decorated American track and field athlete ever, and the most decorated female track and field athlete in history.
Mrs. Young’s first Olympic games also included watching Naomi Osaka in tennis, the American team of Michael Hixon and Andrew Capobianco win silver in synchronized diving, and the U.S. women’s water polo team. Another highlight was watching the U.S. women’s basketball team bring home its seventh straight gold. Exploring the beautiful city of Tokyo was not, however, in her itinerary due to Covid restrictions.
“Because of Covid our moves were quite restricted,” Mrs. Young stated. “We couldn't take public transportation until we'd been in the country for fourteen days. We weren't supposed to sightsee even if we had time to, and we had to be masked at all times and took several Covid tests while there. Almost all of what I saw of the city was through the windows of buses.”
“All of the amenities in our hotel were closed, including restaurants, which meant several times I was scouring UberEats for restaurants that offered their menu in Japanese and English so I might not end up surprised by what was delivered.”
Mrs. Young’s focus as a columnist is the intersection of race and gender in sports, and the Games provided opportunities to continue that; thanks to gymnast Simone Biles the Tokyo Olympics also saw long-overdue discussions about mental health among elite athletes, and she was able to highlight some of those stories as well.
Despite the limitations, covering the Olympics this summer for Mrs. Young was “such an adventure and really a dream,” which she documented through stories and columns throughout her three-week journey.
To read more about her adventure, click here.