Pat Kay displays the trophy from the 2017 Singapore Sevens during a visit to the Cowichan Rugby Football Club later that spring. Kay and the Canadian men’s sevens team qualified for the 2020 Olympics, which have now been postponed to 2021. (Citizen file)

Duncan’s Pat Kay copes with Olympic roller-coaster

‘Confusing time’ as Canada pulls out due to COVID-19, followed by IOC postponement

It was a roller-coaster couple of days for Pat Kay last week.

The Duncan product and member of the Canadian national men’s rugby sevens team went through a range of emotions as the Canadian Olympic Committee announced on March 22 that it was pulling out of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics because of concerns related to COVID-19, followed the next day by the International Olympic committee’s own announcement that the Games would be postponed until 2021.

“It was kind of a confusing time,” Kay acknowledged. “A lot of questions weren’t being answered immediately.”

Many of those questions were cleared up on Tuesday when all athletes who were shortlisted for Summer Olympics teams joined a conference call with the COC, and rugby players also took part in a call with Rugby Canada.

Kay was pleased with the transparency shown by both organizations.

“Everyone is on the same page now,” he said.

RELATED: Vancouver Island Olympian resets after hard-fought journey to Tokyo Games hits COVID-19 pothole

The goal for Kay right now is to stay positive and stay in shape as he waits in Victoria during an uncertain time.

“For the time being, I’ve got to switch off rugby,” he said. “And treat it like an off-season and be ready when the time comes.”

Kay’s team had completed the first six stages of the 2019-20 World Rugby Sevens Series, including the Canada Sevens in Vancouver on March 7-8, where Canada finished a season-best third, before World Rugby postponed all remaining tournaments because of the pandemic. The last four stages, in Hong Kong, Singapore, London and Paris have now been rescheduled for September and October.

Once the Sevens Series wrapped up, the team was supposed to hold a camp in Whistler before heading to Japan for the Olympics in July.

“A lot has changed,” Kay said. “I’m doing a lot less travel this spring.”

Instead, he’s doing a lot of the same things as the rest of us.

“Right now, I’ll abide by the necessary rules,” he said. “Stay inside, do social distancing. But I’ll stay involved with the team, corresponding with my coaches and teammates.

“Things are changing every day. I have to take it one day at a time.”


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Pat Kay receives his North Cowichan/Duncan Sports Wall of Fame induction plaque from Bill Keserich in November 2019. (Black Press photo)

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