Lions quarterback David Blough reports to training camp July 23. His wife, Melissa Gonzalez, competes in the first round of the 400-meter hurdles in Tokyo on July 31.
Gonzalez, who has dual citizenship with a father born in Colombia and a mother born in the United States, made the Colombian Olympic team.
“She’ll get to be with other Colombian athletes, and there’s American athletes she’ll know,” Blough told Chris Burke of TheAthletic.com. “It stinks that we can’t be there to support her, but we know she’s in good hands, and she’s going to go and crush it and come back.
“That’s kind of been the story of our relationship, long distance. Sometimes, she’s gone for a few weeks; sometimes, I’m gone for a few weeks. We know how each other operates. It stinks we can’t be there to support her, but she knows we’ll all be watching. Carrollton, Texas, will probably have the biggest viewing for the 400 hurdles.”
Blough couldn’t attend anyway.
Tokyo’s city governor announced Thursday that fans are prohibited from Tokyo-area stadiums and arenas when the Olympics begin in two weeks. The capital is under a COVID-19 state of emergency because of rising new infections with the highly contagious delta variant.
So the Olympics have turned into a made-for-TV event.
Gonzalez holds the nation’s record in the 400-meter hurdles at 55.68 seconds. Her goal is to reach the finals of the event on Aug. 4.
Sydney McLaughlin set the world record in the event at the recent U.S. Olympic Trials, running a 51.90.
Blough said Lions head coach Dan Campbell will try to allow the quarterback to watch his wife run, regardless of the timing of her heats.
“There’s been some excitement, man,” Blough said. “The quarterbacks have been so great encouraging her. [Quarterbacks coach] Mark Brunell always asks how she’s doing, what’s the update. The quarterbacks have gotten pretty close, pretty quick. It’s a small room, so it makes it easy. They were pumped, to say the least. The group message was on fire when I let them know it was official. Dan has been fantastic accommodating us.
“It’s always fun when the guys figure out my wife is faster than me. They enjoy following her. [Receiver] Tom Kennedy has probably watched as many races as anybody. He’s one of our good friends.”