The assumption for most young athletes that contract COVID-19 is that they’ll bounce back.
For local Olympian Priscilla Frederick-Loomis, that hasn’t been the case.
“It’s very scary. When people say you don’t take life for granted, I never was one but now I’m in the situation I realized that I did,” said Frederick-Loomis.
Her life has been turned upside down since contracting the virus in January. Things were already difficult before that. The Olympian started a cleaning business in 2016 and later a GoFundMe page to support her trip to the Tokyo Games.
Her husband Ken took out a loan so she could train in Virginia.
However, the 32-year-old might be forced to retire.
“Depending on what the doctor says, I have to honor it but I am willing to put myself in a massive amount of danger to make this Olympic team. I owe to my country, my husband, my fans. I’ll do it.”
On Thursday, Frederick-Loomis will speak to a cardiologist and find out if she can resume training. She’s still experiencing searing chest pains and even had a panic attack.
She said her body is about 50% compared to the 2016 Olympics in Rio, where the Queens native finished 28th in the high jump representing Antigua & Barbuda.
“It’s extremely frightening to know what’s going to happen and that’s what I told my husband. I sat there and I’m crying because I said I don’t want to retire under these circumstances.”
Priscilla’s story of saving every nickel and dime isn’t uncommon to many Olympians. Despite being previously ranked top 30 in the world, she has no sponsors or endorsements.
If she had those luxuries, she thinks she may have avoided COVID-19.
“Everyone focuses on the top three, there are so many other people. I made it to the Olympics scrubbing toilets. When it comes to the financial aspect, it’s frustrating to see other athletes over the quarantine period get whole gyms sent to their houses and I’m taking water bottles to the beach and filling them up with sand to be my weights.”