Bradley Wiggins is intrigued to see how athletes will cope without crowds at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, claiming many would often “bottle it” in front of spectators.
Britain’s most decorated Olympian, who is in Japan for Eurosport, has more experience than most when it comes to dealing with pressure, having won five golds and the Tour de France.
Due to a state of emergency in Tokyo and rising number of coronavirus cases, most venues at the Games will not have spectators and athletes have also been subject to strict conditions to minimise contact with others.
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Speaking from the Olympic Stadium ahead of the opening ceremony, Wiggins said the lack of crowds is a new factor that they will have to contend with.
“It’s once every four years, you only get one shot at it and it’s when we see athletes really bottle it, on that final line, one minute to go and there’s a silence, and we’re going to have less of that here without a crowd,” said Wiggins, reflecting on what atmospheres are usually like at the Olympics.
“Lots of people’s families travel out to watch and when you know your family is in the crowd watching you, something you sacrificed your last four years for, particularly those who have got children, that adds pressure but also adds incentive to win that gold in front of their family members.
“To not be able to share that moment with them if they win a medal, is going to be very difficult for some.
“It’s a very unique Games, in that we’ve never seen one like it without spectators but people have got to rise to the occasion and put that to one side because this is about being an Olympic champion, or being an Olympic medallist.
The difference between being good and great and being an Olympian and an Olympic champion is quite a big difference.
“It’s at its rawest sense, it’s how the Olympics started in Greece - higher, stronger, faster.”
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