Writer: Dori Larbig
Editor: Emily Rapp
All types of events are being canceled or postponed worldwide due to the coronavirus pandemic. From music festivals to large-scale conferences, to sports seasons and awards shows, everyone is being affected. The 2020 Summer Olympics served as a flicker of hope and gave the world a sense of normality that not everything would be canceled because of the virus. However, it was not until March 24 that professional athletes received the news that the Olympics are being postponed.
This postponement is a big deal. The Summer Olympic Games occur every four years and is a multi-billion dollar event that brings together athletes and fans from all over the world. The only other years that the Olympic Games have been canceled were 1916, 1940 and 1944 Games, and that was because the world wars were occurring at the same time. In fact, this is the first time in the history of the Olympics that they are getting postponed. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has dealt with health threats in previous Olympic years, however, none have been serious enough for the scheduled Olympic timeline to be compromised.
According to ESPN.com, “the IOC president and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games … must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community,” said the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee and the IOC.
Although they will happen in 2021, the summer Olympics will still be called “The Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
Now, what does this mean for the athletes? Most have been training and preparing to compete in these Olympics for years. Despite this pandemic, most athletes are continuing to train if they are able to. This means that they need to be at their peak performance sometime in 2021, rather than late this summer.
Unfortunately, this halt on all sports has complicated the lives of these Olympic qualifiers. Some athletes have put off school or jobs to train and pursue their Olympic goals. Others will now have to decide whether it is worth it to continue waiting another year for this event to happen.
“It is so unlucky for these athletes that the Olympics have been postponed,” said junior Merrick Larbig. “Most athletes have been training their whole lives for this moment, and for some people, this might be their only chance or their last chance to be able to compete in the Olympics.”
Despite the disappointment, athletes and coaches have been accepting of this change.
According to theguardian.com, “it is with profound sadness that we accept the postponement, but in all consciousness, it is the only decision we can support, in light of the devastating impact Covid-19 is having on our nation, our communities and our families,” said Andy Anson, the British Olympic Association’s chief executive.
Overall, Tokyo leaders and members of the IOC believe that the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games will help the world recover from this pandemic. Now, we can continue to have the Olympics serve as a flicker of hope for after this pandemic when we all can gather together and celebrate the world’s most accomplished athletes in 2021.