García Bragado: “At this point it is not very important to be 50 or 51 years old”

By the time the United States was planted, athletics and swimming federations through, Jesús Ángel García Bragado already knew that he would not dismiss his career at 50 years old. The best Spanish walker in history will have to wait another twelve months to hang up his shoes at his eighth Olympics, a record in the ‘sport king’. The unstoppable global expansion of the coronavirus has made it inevitable: Tokyo 2021 is a reality after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has had to deal with the Japanese authorities and television contracts to minimize the impact of the postponement on the Lausanne coffers .

For ‘Chuso’, the only Spanish survivor of Barcelona’92, the postponement is practically good news. It seems incredible when, in theory, time should be running against it, but it’s true. “At certain heights it is not really important. Being 50 or 51 I don’t think it influences too much if you take care of yourself, ”he says, confined to his house in Sant Adrià. And it is that the Olympic extension will allow him to fully recover from the discomfort that still brings from his agonistic feat in the Doha World Cup (his thirteenth championship), where he was eighth with 31st and 72% humidity. «I tell the Technical Committee that it has come to me like a saint to train on the tape that the Spanish Federation (RFEA) has obtained for me, because the impact at the muscular and tendon level is less. When we can do normal workouts I will have all these problems resolved, “says” the marble man. “

“Looking positive, this will allow me to get to the Games much more complete and to be able to make a more normal competitive schedule, otherwise I would have had to reduce it a lot so as not to risk,” explains García Bragado, who learned the lesson of being conservative. in the previous Olympic year. However, at first, like the rest of the athletes, the change of date in Tokyo upset him: «He counted the months that remained. I was being tough, but I was thinking: look, it doesn’t take a year. When you see that this is so, you have to reset yourself and adapt to the circumstances ». Chameleonic. There is no other way to stay at the top of the athletic march for almost 30 years, from his tenth place in Barcelona’92 and world gold in Stuttgart the following summer to eighth place in Doha that ensures him to be in Tokyo 2021. There will be disputed some Games in four different decades.

Not as much as the date, the Madrid marcher is concerned about the place of his farewell. “If they take us to Sapporo (as they were going to do in 2020 and it seems that they will do in 2021) it would not do so much harm to those who adapt less to the heat. That circumstance allowed me in Doha, preparing well for extreme heat, to be competing with kids much younger than me, “he recalls. And it is that in the World Cup he entered just in front of the Ukrainian Maryan Zakalnytskyy, current European champion in 50km, who is twice his age. «I’m not going to think about being in the top ten of the ranking by brands anymore, but by results. In a way, Sapporo hurts me.

Incognito in the preparation

Like the rest of Spanish athletes, the economic imbalance that the pandemic will create in the Federation and that threatens to upset the roadmap to the Games also hurts. “If they had been in 2020 we had an idea of ​​how to prepare them. I suppose it works for next year, but we will have to see the resources we have. Everything seems to indicate that they are not going to be the same, we have to get used to the idea », assumes the quadruple world medalist. “I understand that the agreements that the RFEA had with some prefectures of Japan to go to train will be maintained, but it would be necessary to see if there are resources to travel there. If not, we will have to adapt to training here in a place with a lot of heat and a lot of humidity, such as the Ebro delta, ”he suggests.

Veteranship is a grade, and García Bragado allows him to coldly analyze his options in his eighth Games. «When you go to your first you have more responsibility, more pressure. What used to be talking about a medal is now doing a good job, not failing, ”says the Madrid native. “In a 50km test many things can happen: indigestion, you are not feeling well, cramps … You have to avoid withdrawing and then, technically, not have problems with the judges.” All with the aim of putting an end to his legendary career with a good taste in the mouth: “ending up retiring or disqualified would be very sad.”

The 50km march also say goodbye in Sapporo

From the hand of Jesús Ángel García Bragado, the scene of his exploits also says goodbye to the calendar in Tokyo 2021, although everything indicates that it will be in Sapporo and not in the capital, as had been planned for 2020. The 50km, which in The Games are only played in the men’s category, they will no longer be part of the Olympic program to make way for a new distance, between 30 and 35 kilometers that will also be female, as of Paris 2024. «As now there are so many sports and the Games There are events lasting 15 days, such as 50km, which last four hours, which hardly have space, “explains ‘Chuso’. “What does the International Olympic Committee want? That the events last between two hours and two and a half hours, and the only solution is to change the distance to adapt ”, he adds.

In practice, the deletion of 50km from the Olympic program means that the event will disappear from the international calendar. “It would not make sense if there were competitions of 50km and then in the Games they were 35km, so the distance is going to be extinguished after Tokyo,” says the longest running man among those who will participate in Japan. In any case, their younger colleagues are favored by lower mileage: «I understand that the Spaniards will benefit from the change. Also women. Those who are at a good international level especially compete in 20km, so a test that is closer comes better. Climbing from 20 to 50km is a very abrupt change in energy, training and focus ”. Miguel Ángel López is the 20km world and European champion, Álvaro Martín is the current continental champion, like María Pérez, and Diego García Carrera is the runner-up.


Nursing homes face unique challenges with Coronavirus – NBC Los Angeles

From Miami to Seattle, nursing homes and other facilities for the elderly host stocks of masks and thermometers, preparing staff shortages and checking visitors to protect a particularly vulnerable population from the coronavirus.

In China, where the epidemic started, the disease was basically deadly for the elderly. In Italy, the epicenter of the virus epidemic in Europe, the more than 100 people who died were elderly, suffering from other complications or both.

Of the 19 deaths in the United States since Saturday, at least 14 had been linked to a nursing home in the Seattle area, along with many other infections among residents, staff and family members. The Seattle Times reported that a second nursing home and a retired community in the area had reported a virus case.

This has alerted other structures in the United States, especially in states with large populations of older residents, such as Florida and California. About 2.5 million people live in long-term care facilities in the United States.

“For people over the age of 80 … the death rate could reach 15%,” said Mark Parkinson, president of the American Health Care Association nursing homes group.

The federal government is now focusing all inspections of nursing homes on infection control, identifying facilities in the city with confirmed cases and those previously mentioned for not following the protocol.

Federal regulations already require homes to have a specialist in preventing infections in staff, and many have already taken measures to deal with seasonal flow and other ailments that pose a greater risk to the elderly.

Even so, the response of structures to coronavirus has varied across the country.

In Florida, where some 160,000 seniors live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, mandatory screening for visitors is not expected “because we are not at that point,” said Florida Health Care Association spokeswoman Kristen Knapp.

But aged care centers are posting signs that urge visitors to stay away if they have symptoms and are looking for alternative ways to connect to families, such as through video chats, Knapp said.

Concierges in the 14 Florida nursing homes managed by Palm Gardens Corporation are now offering all visitors a short questionnaire asking for information on symptoms, recent trips and contacts with others, said company vice president Luke Neumann.

Neumann said that nursing homes have also purchased additional thermometers in case they have to check visitors’ temperatures and accumulate preventive supplies, including medical masks, protective goggles and clothing. In laundries they make sure to use enough bleach and heat to kill any persistent viral germs, he said.

In the South Shore Rehabilitation and Skilled Care Center south of Boston, patient Leo Marchand holds a container of disinfectant wipes on a shelf near the bed that he uses several times a day. The 71-year-old Vietnam veteran and retired truck driver has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which makes it difficult to breathe. The possibility of contracting the coronavirus scares him.

“It’s a concern,” said Marchand. “Really.”

Many facilities across the country have said they have trouble getting masks and medical clothes because of the shortage.

The more intense screening of visitors, meanwhile, isn’t going well with some.

“Some of the visitors have been quite reluctant to comply, and this has been stressful,” said Janet Snipes, executive director of Denver’s Holly Heights nursing center.

Under federal regulations, nursing homes are considered to be a patient’s residence and facilities want to keep them in contact with the family, especially when they are almost dead.

“I don’t think you can completely prevent visitors,” said Dr. David A. Nace, director of long-term care and flu programs at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Medicine. Supervise 300 facilities in Pennsylvania.

For now, facilities in most states are underlining basic precautions, including hand washing and the cough tag.

Centers across the country are also trying to prepare staff for the worst.

An adult daycare center in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami purchased long-lasting ready meals in preparation for possible shortages. The Hebrew Home in Riverdale, New York is running nursing staff through exercises to see how they will handle situations in the 750-bed facility if the virus progresses. Their IT department is building an infrastructure to allow staff to work remotely if they get sick.

“If one of our sites has an outbreak, we will quickly run out of staff in that position,” said Randy Bury, CEO of The Good Samaritan Society, one of the largest nonprofit senior care providers in the country, with 19,000 employees in 24 states.

Some families are considering withdrawing loved ones from the facilities.

Kathleen Churchyard said her family decided to move her 80-year-old mother out of her retirement community near Jacksonville, Florida, and to her sister’s home nearby if the virus is confirmed in the area.

Churchyard, who lives in Concord, North Carolina, fears that her mother won’t take her seriously, and is particularly concerned about her dining room.

“I tried to get her to buy things to prepare … She said, ‘No. If (the virus) catches me, it takes it,'” said Churchyard.


Associate associate writer Philip Marcelo in Rockland, Massachusetts contributed to this report.


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