2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games- Day Three AM. April 10, 2018. Photo: Claus Andersen

Crystal Emmanuel had already gotten her 2020 season underway after a successful training camp in Barbados with her Canadian teammates. She even ran 23.42 in the 200-metres on Valentine’s Day, a new personal-best and .10 off of the Canadian indoor record.

Then the global pandemic hit North America and put a halt on the season.

Many athletes and avid track and field followers alike are advised to stay indoors with competitions and meets being postponed or delayed, leaving them to look for creative ways to stay active.

For the Canadian 200-metre outdoor record-holder, Emmanuel fully supports the decision as she is at risk with her asthma condition. Instead she is using this time to prioritize her mental strength while continuing to be physically ready for whenever the 2020 season resumes and even beyond.

“Mentally, this is by far the hardest challenge I’ve faced because we have to stay inside and social distancing. We can’t train at the track so I feel like this is a good test to see how strong my mental game is, being able to train alone, making sure my body feels good, and self-care,” said Emmanuel. “It’s a good test, I’ll be mentally strong for next season and all there is to come.”

“Usually if I wasn’t off, I would be training, going home, cooking dinner and relaxing. Some days, I skipped mental stuff in terms of sitting down, reflecting on training, fixing what could be better. But now, I can actually go back and fix some things, do more recovery, so when we do get back outside, I’ll be ready,” Emmanuel added.

Still able to work out in empty parks and run, the 28-year-old is still able to remain physically active. Mentally, she stays busy by reading, talking to sports psych, and mind activities as if she was going through a regular season.

After a rocky 2019 season where she struggled with injuries, the 28-year-old can take this time to fully recover and even get stronger during this time. After a minor ankle injury to begin her year, Emmanuel was able to recover in time to get a taste of the 2020 season, a season where she believes that she would have been ready for success.

“I had a great start to the season,” Emmanuel said. “Being able to touch the track in 2020 was a good start, had a few things to work on but looking at the things that were coming up, I am sure I would have been ready for the challenges of competing.”

Aside from track and training, Emmanuel knows exactly what she will be doing once everything returns to normal and becomes safe to go back out. A hardcore collector, she’s going straight to downtown Toronto, to get herself the latest pair of Jordans. “I’m in love with Jordans. I’m missing all of the releases, so that’s the one thing I will do and then it’s back to training,” Emmanuel laughs.

But whether the season resumes in 2020 or gets pushed back to 2021, Emmanuel’s goals remain the same: reach the final in each of her events, 100-, 200-, and 4×100-metre relay as she competes in her third Olympic Games.

As for the Canadian 100-metre record, Emmanuel vows that that goal remains in her sights. “It will always be, until I can’t do it anymore.”