High jumper Priscilla Frederick had her 2020 all planned out. After competing at her second Olympics, the St. John’s University alumna and lifelong New Jersey resident was going to retire from competitive sports. At 31 and a newlywed, she felt it was time to move on to the next phase of her life.
“I had planned on sending out my resume and reaching out to my connections within the next couple of months so that I could be set up for when I was done in August,” said Frederick, whose interests post-track and field include becoming a movie and TV stuntwoman and actress.
In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the International Olympic Committee together with the Prime Minister of Japan and the organizing committee for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo have decided to reschedule the Games to a date beyond 2020, but no later than summer 2021.
“To be honest, it’s a game-changer in a sense,” said Frederick, who represents Antigua in international competition. She won silver medals in the high jump at both the 2015 and 2019 Pan Am Games. “I was supposed to retire after this Olympics. As soon as I was done with my last jump, that would be it.
“Now, that they’ve pushed the Olympics back…plans change,” she continued. “I spoke to my coach and to my husband. The plan was to go to one more Olympics, and that’s the plan we’re going to continue.”
Since last fall, Frederick has been training with Lauren Biscardi, an assistant coach at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and will return there as soon as the campus is reopened. Frederick feels she’s continuing to improve and she’s hoping she’ll hit her peak next year. At present, she’s doing her best to stay in shape with home workouts and looking forward to again training with the right equipment.
“If I have this year, that extra time will be to my benefit,” said Frederick, who is inspired by the Olympic successes of fellow St. John’s alumni, fencers Dagmara Wozniak and Daryl Homer. “I have to believe I can get on the podium and make history for Antigua. That’s always been the goal.
“When you’ve had a certain journey and gone through what I’ve gone through being an unsigned athlete, getting an Olympic medal will speak volumes,” she added. “I hope if that does happen, I will be that inspiration for the next generation of athletes and give them motivation to keep pushing.”