Ryan Lochte is among the many athletes currently left reeling after it was announced that the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics have been postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 35-year-old, 12-time Olympic medalist has been training “almost every day” to be in shape for the Games, a source tells PEOPLE — but now has around a year to go.
“He’s disappointed like everybody else, but he knows this is way bigger than him,” the source explains of Lochte, who was already battling to get back in shape after a 14-month ban from competitive swimming. “Ryan’s older than he’d like to be going into this cycle and so it’s another year he didn’t anticipate, but he’s in incredible shape and he’ll keep the pedal down and he knows this is best for the world.”
The sentiment is one Lochte shared himself on Good Morning America, Wednesday, when he video chatted into the morning show.
“As soon as I saw it was disappointment,” Lochte shared. “I trained four years for this moment — this is probably one of my biggest Olympics that I’ve ever had in my career but this is bigger than me. This is bigger than the Olympians. This is affecting the entire world and right now our main thing is staying safe and staying healthy.”
Lochte told GMA‘s Michael Strahan that “training will never be perfect — there’s always going to be a bump in the road” and that the postponement is “just another bump in the road.”
“So now we just have to adjust our training for another year,” he said.
Lochte is already older than his former teammate Michael Phelps was when he retired after the 2016 Olympics in Rio at 31. If the father of two medals at the Games next year, he would be the oldest swimmer to ever do so.
And last fall, Lochte told Today that he had gained — and lost — over 20 pounds in 2019.
The source tells PEOPLE that Ryan had been training in the pool almost every day, sometimes twice a day. But the virus has forced many athletic facilities to close.
Of course, there was “anxiety” over what the International Olympic Committee would decide to do about the Summer Games as coronavirus concerns ramped up, the source says.
“But he now has the clarity and knows what’s happening and now he just has to start getting his head straight and saying, ‘Okay now I have another year of this,’ ” the insider explains.
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In the meantime, Lochte has had some “really good family time” with his wife Kayla Rae Reid, and their kids Liv, 10 months, and Caiden, 2.
The U.S. Olympic Committee has spoken out about the postponement, with CEO Sarah Hirshland sending a letter to athletes on Tuesday.
She wrote, “This summer was supposed to be a culmination of your hard work and life’s dream, but taking a step back from competition to care for our communities and each other is the right thing to do. Your moment will wait until we can gather again safely.”
“The excellence within Team USA is our resilience and how we overcome adversity. I have no doubt we will get through this together as a team, and all be better because of it,” she said.