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British sprinter Henry says will put health before Olympics

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SHOWS: LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (APRIL 26, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

1. TEAM GB SPRINTER AND RIO OLYMPICS 4X100M RELAY BRONZE MEDALLIST DESIREE HENRY PUTTING ON SHOES

2. HENRY WARMING UP

3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TEAM GB SPRINTER AND RIO OLYMPICS 4X100M RELAY BRONZE MEDALLIST, DESIREE HENRY, ON SAFETY VERSUS COMPETING AT NEXT YEAR'S OLYMPICS DEBATE, SAYING:

"Throughout all of this it's just made me realise that we are more than just athletes and performers that want to entertain people in a crowd. We're humans that have families and lives to think of. And so, from the health aspect, you have to put your health first. I want to live. I want all the other athletes to live and be healthy and so if the pandemic hasn't been, you know, sorted by 2021, I would have to put my health first honestly. I have a family to come back to. So, I think I would personally take a step back, because I'm not trying to say I'm going to die for the sport, because I'm not going to do that. I really do care about my own health and my family and I would honestly encourage others to think outside of being an athlete and just remember you're an individual where people and family love you."

4. HENRY WARMING UP BY JUMPING IN THE SAME POSITION IN A SAND BUNKER ON GOLF COURSE

5. HENRY TRAINING WITH MEDICINE BALL

6. HENRY STRETCHING

7. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TEAM GB SPRINTER AND RIO OLYMPICS 4X100M RELAY BRONZE MEDALLIST, DESIREE HENRY, ON UNCERTAINTY OF UPCOMING EVENTS, SAYING:

"Yeah, I think that's the hardest thing, not knowing how things are going to go towards the future. So, for someone like me, it just means that I have to continue training as if there is going to be a competition later on this year. Yes, it's very, very hard to mentally kind of train towards a goal that obviously has been taken away such as the Olympics, but there are meant to be smaller competitions throughout the year. So, I just have to really stay focused and keep training towards those."

8. HENRY STRETCHING

9. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TEAM GB SPRINTER AND RIO OLYMPICS 4X100M RELAY BRONZE MEDALLIST, DESIREE HENRY, ON HER MISSING OUT ON VALUABLE TIME IN REACHING HER POTENTIAL, SAYING:

"I think during this time, it's probably the hardest for athletes that are either looking to retire, looking to start a family and their sights were set on making the Olympics one more time as the largest pinnacle of our sport. That must be kind of a hard moment where you have to really change everything in your life. But, I guess for somebody like me, I just think that I am young, I kind of do have age on my side. So, I'm not thinking of anything too far ahead in terms of 'oh I can never reach my potential'. I'm just like, this has just been delayed more than anything and there's still an opportunity, there's still a chance, but, mentally I just feel like you have to stay strong more than ever during this time."

10. HENRY HOLDING YOGA POSE

11. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TEAM GB SPRINTER AND RIO OLYMPICS 4X100M RELAY BRONZE MEDALLIST, DESIREE HENRY, ON HAVING TO ADAPT HER TRAINING SCHEDULE, SAYING:

"For me, I've just had to adapt by buying equipment. Basically train at home and then the other thing is just making use of the one exercise a day that we're allowed and just coming to the local parks and fields and getting in my running sessions that way."

12. AERIAL VIEW OF HENRY RUNNING (MUTE)

STORY: British sprinter Desiree Henry will prioritise her health and family's well-being over competing at the Tokyo Olympics next year if the COVID-19 pandemic has not been brought under control.

The Games were pushed back by a year to July-August 2021 due to the new coronavirus and Henry, a 4x100 metres relay bronze medallist at the 2016 Rio Games, urged athletes not to risk their health, saying she wouldn't "die for the sport".

With training centres closed due to lockdown measures in the United Kingdom, Henry has been getting her designated daily exercise on a golf course in London.

The 24-year-old said the uncertainty surrounding upcoming events made it mentally tough to "train towards a goal" but she was looking forward to competing in smaller competitions throughout the year.

Henry also said she was not worried about being unable to fulfill her potential but that the Olympics postponement must have hit some athletes hard, particularly those who looked at Tokyo as their swansong.

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