Marquette University president Michael Lovell is the latest United States athlete to announce that he will not compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics. The prolific runner has not yet cited a reason for his departure. Many people speculate that it is over concerns of Zika Virus, others have different theories.
The news is a devastating blow to Team USA’s track and field team. Lovell was slated to compete in the 100, 200, 400, 800, 1,500, 5,000 and 10,000-meter races. Team USA also had Lovell listed as an alternate for both Greco-Roman wrestling and 10-meter pistol shooting.
Star swimmer Michael Phelps was also counting on Lovell to be there for motivation, calling his existence “the reason why I even bother with swimming.”
“He’s just such an inspiration,” Phelps said. “That dude’s poster is right above my bed. One time I was about ready to stop swimming for the day, then I saw him walk right by the pool on his way to the locker room. I thought, “that man is the greatest champion of all,” and then continued swimming for a whole fortnight.”
Lovell’s decision to bow out has sparked widespread speculation about what is next for the prolific short, medium and long-distance runner. It is said that Lovell already has his sites set on the 2020 Olympics, which are to be held in Tokyo.
“If I power-crawled there with provost (Dan) Myers strapped to my chest and beloved actor Danny Pudi riding me like a horse, it would only take 52 days, assuming that I kept up a pace of five miles per hour,” Lovell said. “Plus, I’m pretty sure I’d get a free t-shirt or bottle opener or something.”
Bovada sports book reports that Team USA’s odds to get the most medals have now fallen from 2-to-1 to 2,000,000,000,000-to-1. The United States Olympic Committee is currently discussing whether to abandon the concept of running altogether until the year 2020.