Olympics Postponed Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

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In a recent article by the Guardian, we learned the long-awaited fate of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. After several weeks of deliberation, the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics have officially been postponed. This decision came after extensive discussion between Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, who mutually decided postponement was “inevitable.” Both leaders reassured international audiences that canceling the Games was out of the question, and the delay was the “most appropriate response to the global disruption.” Organizers must consider the health and wellness of athletes as well as spectators from around the globe. 

Given the uncertainty of our times, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee has yet to schedule a new date. The Games will likely occur in the summer of 2021, though they could happen as soon as late 2020. Organizers have hinted at a possible April 2021 re-scheduled date, though they must consider how it could intervene with other sporting events. 

Not only has this postponement disappointed fans and athletes, but it has also taken a massive blow to Tokyo’s economy. To date, the country has spent over $12 billion on preparations for the event, not counting enormous sums spent by broadcasters and sponsors. Financial analysts across the world have estimated that the country could lose nearly $5 billion if the Games did not take place as scheduled in summer 2020. Given the economic uncertainty, Japan is already facing due to the pandemic, and it’s difficult to say how the nation will be impacted. Still, citizens of Japan seemed to have already accepted the Games would not be held even before it was officially announced. A poll conducted before the announcement determined that nearly 70% of the population did not expect the Games to continue as scheduled. 

Prior to the official announcement, nations across the globe had already announced they would not participate if the Games continued as planned. Canada became the first country to withdraw, and others eventually followed suit. Although the Olympics serve as an opportunity for countries across the globe to achieve unity together, we must focus first on conquering the enemy affecting us all, COVID-19. There is so much on the line right now, and to risk the health and safety of international athletes and fans would be careless and could likely set us back even farther than anticipated. As citizens of the world, we must work together to restore the health and well being of all those affected so we can come together again and compete alongside one another in Tokyo. 

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