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Olympians Look to Help Young Athletes During Shutdown

When Jesse Smith looks out at his Zoom audience, he knows exactly what the crowd is going through.

The captain of the U.S. men’s water polo team is adjusting his training, too. He also misses playing alongside his friends.

One way Smith is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is through virtual speaking engagements with water polo clubs and teams all over the country, passing along what he has learned during a couple decades in the water.

The 37-year-old Smith is one of several Olympic athletes who have been using digital avenues to help their sport during the shutdown. While Zoom sessions are a frequent choice, some athletes are offering training tips on Instagram and Olympic federations are pitching in with newsletters and other web-based help.

“We're all as athletes affected the same way,” Smith said. “Even though I'm a four-time Olympian, a silver medal (winner), training for my fifth Olympics, the captain of my team, the same thing is going on in my head as a 16-year-old that got their (season) canceled, and I think that I have more tools available, so I'm trying to share that."