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After Contracting COVID-19, Olympic Rower Is Back To Training


Finally today, we continue our month-long check-in with athletes who were planning to be in Tokyo this summer competing for Team USA at the Olympics, that is until the games were postponed by a whole year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Today we hear from one competitor who's experienced the effects of the virus firsthand.

EMILY REGAN: My name is Emily Regan. I am a member of the U.S. women's rowing team. And I was hoping to be competing in the women's eight in Tokyo 2020 this summer. I previously competed in the 2016 Games in Rio, where I won a gold medal with my teammates in the women's eight. When the games were postponed, my teammates and I found out that we had been exposed to COVID through an employee at USRowing. And so not only were we dealing with the emotions of the Olympics being postponed, but we also had to quarantine on top of the stay-at-home order so that we could find out whether we actually did have the virus or not. I ended up having the virus and having to deal with being sick for a while. And now I've just been working on training and getting back into shape and looking forward to hopefully the games next summer in 2021.

I definitely had a mild case, but it was not fun. I've never had another illness where the fatigue with it is so extreme. Walking up a set of stairs was, like, all I could do in a day. I needed a nap.

FADEL: Now that Regan is strong enough to roll again, she and her teammates have been using music as a way to motivate each other while they train.

REGAN: And we've been making playlists for our state, including only artists who were either born or raised in the state that we grew up in. And we've been playing different state playlists throughout the time. So I was born and raised in New York state. And so I'm partial to our New York state playlist. And I would say that one of my favorite songs we have on that one is "Summertime Sadness" by Lana Del Rey.


LANA DEL REY: (Singing) Kiss me hard before you go. Summertime sadness. I just wanted you to know that, baby...

REGAN: And it kind of throws me back a little bit to the summer of 2013, which was one of my first years on the team. And it was a really special year for me.

FADEL: That's Emily Regan, rower for Team USA. You can watch her and her teammates try for another Olympic gold medal next summer in Tokyo.


LANA DEL REY: (Singing) I got that summertime, summertime sadness. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.