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Jamaican Olympian left without income in Arizona

“Everything really had shifted but I’m still having hopes, I’m still optimistic,"

ARIZONA, USA — Olympic hopefuls have turned their attention to 2021, but some are struggling to get by financially in the meantime. Jamaican sprinter Schillonie Calvert-Powell is among them.

Calvert helped the Jamaican national team to a silver medal in London in 2012 but missed out on returning to the Olympics in 2016 due to injury. Representing her country in Tokyo was the goal she’s been working toward ever since.

“Everything really had shifted but I’m still having hopes, I’m still optimistic and turning my attention to 2021,” said Calvert.

But, at what cost is it all worth it? 

Not only have the Olympics been postponed, but the track season has too. The cancelations leave unsponsored athletes like Calvert without any form of income.

“If your federation don't step in to kind of support you, at the end of the day you don’t have any earnings. Think of us, Jamaica, we are third-world," Calvert said. "Regardless of how we look at it and think we are important because we have done the country well and we have put the country out there on a global stage, they have to put whatever resources or whatever monetary funds into their healthcare." 

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared the island a disaster area last month. 

Calvert is doing her best to continue training in Arizona as her Olympic dreams and her form of income have been put on hold. 

If she doesn’t receive financial support, she risks not being able to afford her rent or have money for food.

“I’m worried because I’m not sure how long this pandemic will last," Calvert said. "If you don’t have an income and you have to pay, you have to be worried as an individual, not only as an athlete.”

To some, the goal may not be worth it, but to Calvert,  it’s a part of who she is and what she loves. She’s not ready to give up on her Olympic dream.  

“I’m still passionate about the sport, I’m still enjoying everything that I do, so I don’t think I’m going to walk away for now,” Calvert said.

The Olympic Games in Tokyo have been rescheduled for the summer of 2021.

The Tokyo Olympics will open next year in the same time slot scheduled for this year's games. Tokyo organizers said Monday the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021 - almost exactly one year after the games were due to start this year.


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