Virginia marathon runner hopes to make it to Tokyo despite looming coronavirus

At least one official warned the Tokyo Games could be cancelled due to the virus.
Posted at 10:23 AM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 10:23:10-05

MIDLOTHIAN, Va - As cases of the coronavirus spread globally, a Midlothian marathon runner will try to fulfill her dream of making the U.S. Olympic team at the same time at least one official warned the Tokyo Games could be cancelled due to COVID-19.

Keira D’Amato qualified for the Olympic trials two years ago and spent the time since training for this weekend when she heads to Atlanta to compete for a spot on the U.S Marathon team

“It's like I'm playing with house money a little bit. It's like, well, let's go all in,” said D’Amato, who picked up running competitively again two years ago. “The money is in the bank. I've been like depositing the checks, depositing the checks, and Saturday I'm ready to make a withdraw I guess and see what I can do."

Should the mother of two put up a fast enough time to make the U.S. team, it remains somewhat uncertain that the Tokyo Games will take place at all unless the coronavirus outbreak in Asia and elsewhere is containing.

Japanese officials said Wednesday that preparations for the Olympics continue as planned, and members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) told CNN the World Health Organization said there is no reason to cancel the games at this time.

The statements came after one IOC member warned the summer games could be postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19.

“If it happens, yeah I'll probably cry about it, and I'll be pissed, and I'll like kick a bucket or whatever,” D’Amato said. “You can control the things you’re capable of, anything outside of that realm, you can't stress about.”

D’Amato said reports of the virus’ spread do worry her, but only to a point.

“As like a runner and a mother and a traveler, I try not to think about it too much because I don't want to get overly paranoid. At the same time, I'm flying tomorrow and have a face mask that I'll be wearing on the plane,” she said.

The Virginia Department of Health reports that eight Virginians have been tested for COVID-19. Of those patients, six tested negative and two cases are still pending. Neither of those cases are in Central Virginia.

D’Amato said any potential future disappointments related to her Olympic dreams take a back seat to the greater good.

“Like, I understand. It's totally out of my control and if something like that were to happen, it's because they're putting the safety of all the athletes and in this case the world before sports, which I think they have their priorities in order.,” she said.

The Associated Press reports a new coronavirus case in California could be the first in the U.S. with non known connection to travel abroad.