Trinity Thomas had a perfect plan lined up.
The Gators’ superstar sophomore was supposed to help lead the No. 2 Gators to a national championship this spring and then spend her summer training and attempting to qualify for the Olympic trials in late June and hopefully then attain the holy grail, a spot on the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
However, like many people across the country and around the world, her schedule was destroyed by the COVID-19 outbreak.
First came the announcement on March 12 that the NCAA was canceling all winter and spring championships, effectively ending the Gators season with one meet left and the SEC Tournament.
And then came the nail in the coffin. On March 24, the International Olympic Committee officially announced the 2020 Summer Olympics would be postponed to 2021. The games were set to begin on July 24. It was the first time since 1944 that the Olympics were rescheduled or canceled and the first time it was postponed or canceled for anything besides a war.
Thomas, who is back home with her family in York, Pennsylvania, said she found out on Twitter and then told her family.
She said she was expecting the announcement.
“It was something I had told myself was a possibility,” she said. “So, when it happened, I was a lot more prepared than I was when (the) NCAA season was over.”
This summer was supposed to be somewhat of a “one last dance” for Thomas and her elite career.
She had said previously that this would be her last summer competing in events on the elite level, something she has done since she was 14.
However, Thomas said the postponement will certainly change her plans and she will continue to train for Tokyo in 2021.
In fact, she is looking at the postponement as somewhat of a positive.
“You have more time to fix the best routines that you can possibly put together,” she said. “You will have more time to perfect all of your skills and all of your routines and parts, down to the basics.”
Thomas’ mastering of a beam routine is on hold for now, though, as her local gym – Prestige – is closed for the foreseeable future, and Pennsylvania is under a stay-at-home order.
“I talked to the owner (of Prestige) and Jenny (Rowland) and we decided that it would be best if I just went in and did some basics and maintenance things to keep up,” she said. “It won’t be anything big, especially now that I’m not training for the Olympics.”
Like many Americans right now, Thomas is attempting to bring her normal routine into her new, quarantined life, saying that she has been working out from home.
“My club gym coach has put together workouts for me and my strength coach Karen gives us ideas and workouts that we can do from home,” she said.
Outside of gymnastics, Thomas said she is excited to be home and spending time with her four siblings, but the transition to online classes hasn’t been easy for her.
“I don’t learn best like that, so it’s been hard,” she said. “Although we still have tutoring and all the other resources we would have if we were in school.”
Another positive, Thomas said, that came from the IOC’s announcement is it gives her a much-needed break from gymnastics.
“This break right now is probably good for me,” she said. “I haven’t had a break for a while, so honestly I can use this to my advantage and make a new plan.”
Thomas’s plan since coming to UF in 2018 was to focus on Florida gymnastics in the fall and spring and spend her summer focusing on elite events, since Gator gymnasts get the summer off due to training in fall and spring.
With the coronavirus outbreak, she will obviously have to change things up, but she said it shouldn’t affect her at all.
“For me, personally, I needed some studying to do right now,” she said. “I’m sure I’ll be back in the gym soon so I don’t think it will negatively impact me at all.”
Thomas feared a potential spring 2021 starting date for the games which would have interfered with the Gators’ gymnastics season. However, the organizers have since announced the games will begin on July 23, 2021.
Finally, Thomas said her personal goal in gymnastics remains the same, despite the movement of the games.
“I just want to win a national championship,” she said. “I know what this team is capable of and I know that we can do (it). We have worked so hard, and I’m so excited to see what we can do from this.”
Follow Noah Ram on Twitter @Noah_ram1. Contact him at email@example.com.
Noah is a third year journalism-sports and media student from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He has been with The Alligator since Spring 2019 and has covered men’s and women’s tennis, gymnastics and volleyball. When he isn’t on his beat, Noah is usually sadden over his beloved South Florida sports teams, such as the Heat and Dolphins.