The plan for Piotr Malachowski was to win the Olympic discus title in Tokyo this summer and then bid farewell to competition in front of his home fans and supporters at the Kamila Skolimowska Memorial in Chorzow in early September.
But the decision to formally postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games due to the COVID-19 pandemic - a move which Malachowski publicly called for earlier this week - will keep the veteran Polish discus thrower in the sport for another season.
“I've made two important decisions. I will train for the Olympic Games in 2021,” Malachowski told Sport TVP. “I intend to prepare one hundred percent and be really strong and dangerous to my competitors. For this reason, I have to undergo right knee surgery. It's very difficult for me, but I hope to come back stronger.”
Malachowski, 36, has competed at three successive Olympic Games, reaching the podium twice. He won silver at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing behind his rival-turned-coach Gerd Kanter from Estonia before winning silver eight years later in Rio de Janeiro where the gold medal was taken out of his grasp by Germany’s Christoph Harting with the last throw of the final.
The Pole has two Olympic silver medals to his credit but he only has ownership of one of them. Malachowski famously auctioned off his silver medal from the 2016 Olympics to raise funds to help a young boy who had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.
Under normal circumstances the 2015 world champion would be on a warm weather training trip at this time of the season to perfect his craft ahead of the summer campaign but the two-time European champion has been largely confined to his apartment in Warsaw with his wife Katarzyna and their six-year-old son.
Malachowski managed one recent throwing session in a deserted stadium in the Polish capital but a culmination of factors - including the inclement early spring climate as well as health considerations - have meant the Pole has taken a slightly more ad hoc approach to his training.
“In the apartment I have a treadmill and I also do exercises for the abdominal and back muscles. However, I rented a small gym for my garden: a bench and a barbell. At this stage it is enough for me but it is cold and I have to be careful not to get injured,” he said.
Piotr Malachowski career highlights:
2005 - 2nd at the European U23 Championships
2008 - 2nd at the Olympic Games
2009 - 2nd at the World Championships
2010 - 1st at the European Championships
2013 - 2nd at the World Championships
2015 - 1st at the World Championships
2016 - 2nd at the Olympic Games