Jo Pavey has confirmed her intention to reach a sixth Olympics – despite the postponement meaning she will be almost 48 come Tokyo.
Time is not on the side of the mum-of-two, who is one short of the Games appearance record for a British track and field athlete set by javelin legend Tessa Sanderson.
Yet despite the 12-month delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic she is clinging to the goal of extending her Olympic career into a 21st year.
Pavey is uncomfortable talking about sporting ambition during this period of lockdown when her thoughts are with “our amazing NHS staff”.
But her determination shines through in the novel ways she is finding to keep in shape whilst home schooling the kids.
“There are ways and means,” she said, revealing how she is supplementing lonely hill running with step-ups onto a coffee table and bouncing on her kids’ trampoline. “You just have to think outside the box a bit.”
Pavey insists it is “completely right” that the Olympics have been postponed – “even though it means I’m going to be even older!”
And she admits: “I know a sixth Olympics is an extremely big ask. Not only as far as running the standard is concerned, we’ve also got some brilliantly talented younger athletes.
“But I don’t want people to think I’m delusional. 2014, when I was so surprised to get 10,000m gold at the Europeans in Zurich, taught me not to put limits on things. You never know what’s possible until you try.”
Show jumper Nick Skelton proved that in Rio four years ago when becoming Britain’s oldest Olympic gold medalist in any sport since 1908 – at the age of 58.
Tokyo’s delay might pose a challenge for Pavey in terms of time, but she believes it will make for a fairer Games.
“With the lockdown restrictions currently in place it isn’t possible to have random testing,” she said. “Worldwide anti-doping would have been less stringent, it goes without saying.
“Next year should be a more level playing field.”
For all that Nicole Sapstead, chief executive of UK Anti-Doping, has warned athletes and coaches against thinking they can cheat while the focus is elsewhere.
“There will always be a minority that will seek to dope,” she told the BBC. “And whether that is now, when they think they are effectively off the radar of national anti-doping organisations, or at any other time, my message to them is very, very clear.
“We will continue to process intelligence, we will continue to monitor whereabouts, we will continue to monitor the raft of information we have available to us, such as the athlete biological passports.
“All of this helps us to gain a picture of what an athlete might be doing during this time. And if they think they are going to get away with it then they are strongly, strongly mistaken.
“And at the time when anti-doping organisations start to ramp up their activity again, we will come after them.”