While most athletes worldwide are struggling to adjust to life during the novel coronavirus pandemic, Nigerian-born Morolake Akinosun knows what it’s like to take a break, not just from the competition, but from the sport as a whole.
Akinosun was born in Lagos, Nigeria before her family moved to the USA when she was two years old.
Representing the US, she won Olympic 4x100m gold in 2016 and world 4x100m gold in 2017, Akinosun picked up an Achilles injury in 2018 and had to have surgery.
Determined not to feel down about her situation, she treated the break as a kind of “rehab for life”.
“I didn’t want to abandon my life,” she told the Chicago Tribune. “I did a lot of walking around. I just had fun. I read books. I ate food. I remember sitting outside this local eatery in Rome with four friends. My best friend asked me, ‘Would you rather have not torn your Achilles?’ It was just so hard for me to answer. Who would say, ‘Yeah, I wish I tore my Achilles?’ But if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be sitting there with my friends,” said the 26-year-old.
Akinosun, the 2017 US indoor 60m champion, returned to action last year and formed part of the USA’s bronze medal-winning 4x100m quartet at the World Championships in Doha. And while her early-season marks in 2020 were promising, she’s relieved that she now has a bit more time to prepare for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
“We’ve done most of our work on a huge grass field. It’s not terrible, although it is hard to run in the grass. When the coach gets out her wheel, measures 200 meters straight and puts down cones, you’re like, ‘This looks so much further when you’re going straight’.
“More and more, I feel like myself on the track. I’m thinking the Olympics getting postponed was a little bit of a blessing for me.”
In partnership with ANA and Sports Leo