From Where We Are

A Dream Deferred: An Olympic hopeful waits

Coronavirus puts USC Track and Field star Isaiah ‘Champion’ Jewett’s Olympic dream on hold.

Isaiah “Champion” Jewett is destined for greatness — you don’t have to look further than his middle name.

Now a senior at USC, he holds a Pac-12 title and a USC record time in the 800m, he ranks third on the school’s outdoor list, has placed in the top five at the USA Track and Field Championships, and more. But Jewett had his sights set even higher: The 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

With a year of intense training under his belt, it wasn’t a runner that would keep Jewett from his dreams but a virus. While Jewett warmed up as the first-ranked seed at the 2020 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, they announced the race, and the rest of the NCAA season, would be canceled because of the global spread of COVID-19.

“At that moment, I was upset that the race is canceled,” said Jewett. "But I was also thinking if this is canceled, I know the Olympics have to be canceled."

Sure enough, the Olympics were postponed, leaving Jewett with no immediate victory in sight. To him, however, life isn’t about the destination: It’s about the journey.

So while he remains disappointed, this is just a deferral of his dream, a prolonging of the journey. Taylor Bazile shares Jewett’s story.

Listen to an extended cut of this story voiced by Luke Scorziell here: