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2020 Olympics delay spurs gymnast Riley McCusker to defer Florida enrollment

Because the coronavirus pandemic postponed the Olympics, the Gators will have to wait on landing an elite gymnast.

The postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games because of the coronavirus pandemic has cost the Gators a top female gymnast, at least for one year.

Florida announced Wednesday that Riley McCusker is deferring her enrollment until the fall of 2021 so she can focus on trying to make the U.S. Olympic team for next summer’s Games.

“Starting my life as a Florida Gator in 2020 has been my ultimate goal for the past five years…” McCusker said in a statement through the university. “But, when the world quarantined to protect humanity a few months ago, another big goal of mine was delayed.”

Related: How Olympic hopefuls reacted to Summer Games’ postponement

McCusker signed with Florida in November and was scheduled to enroll this fall, after the Olympics were over. The 18-year-old won a gold medal as a member of the U.S. team at the 2018 world championships. She also won the uneven bars at the Pan American Games last year and a national championship in the event in 2017.

"This year I will keep pursuing what I started 12 years ago when I took my first class and fell in love gymnastics,” McCusker said. “I have recently made some changes to my training environment and have a revitalized love for gymnastics. I want to see how far these positive changes will take me toward my dream of making an Olympic team.”

In a statement, Gators coach Jenny Rowland said the Gators couldn’t be prouder and more excited for Riley.”

“Life is too unpredictable to have any regrets and we understand opportunities like this (the Olympics) are few and far between," Rowland said.

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