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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

No Holds Barred: Caradh O'Donovan On Coronavirus, Combat Sports, and the Olympics 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with former kickboxer and current member of the Irish karate team Caradh O'Donovan.

We spoke with her by Skype Sunday.

With karate being included on the program of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, she had hoped to represent Ireland there. Now, in light of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, she and athletes in all sports and all countries may not be able to realize their dreams of competing in the Olympics. Most Olympic qualifying events have either been cancelled or postponed, and when or even if they will take place are at best uncertain.

Speaking about the Olympic qualifying events, she said, "My personal view is that everything should be stopped." Even if the European karate championships, which were cancelled, were still going on, she said she would have pulled out of them.

"I think that people who are making the decisions should be taking the health and safety of people first, not just the fans, but every single person that's involved in the sport. And sometimes that means making calls that means, yes, will probably cost a lot of money and upset people, but it might be for the greater good," she said.

While most Olympic qualifying and other sporting events are now off, still, as of Monday, March 16, the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 have been insisting that the 2020 Olympics will start on time as planned on July 24.

"It just seems to be a really out of touch position to take on it," she said, "because this is a serious virus that's going around, and it's killing people in so many different corners of the world. I just think the attitude is very flippant and maybe it trivializes what's going on."

She added, "Obviously you can't say for sure, but it does appear to be that the bottom line is money, and those decisions will kind of be based around protecting that and protecting the organization."

Perhaps it will take athletes and fans speaking up to get the IOC and Tokyo 2020 to change their position, but "I just don't see it going as smoothly as they want it to be."

She said all this as someone who is 35 years old and is competing in a sport, karate, that is on the Olympic program for 2020 but not for 2024.

"This is coming from me, who wants to go. This has been my dream forever to get to these Games," she said.

"The entire world is shutting down. Businesses are being impacted. Yet the Olympic Games is just going to come through this unscathed? It just doesn't seem realistic."

We also discussed what she has been doing while training facilities are closed down due to the coronavirus pandemic, the great likelihood of transmission of the virus in combat and contact sports, her new role on a weekly sports radio show at a time when there are no sporting events, and much, much more.

(Photo of Caradh O'Donovan at 2018 Irish Kenpo Karate Union Open by Noel Bergin.)

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