The Olympic Games have always been one of the most anticipated sporting events that happen every four years. With every nation in the world taking part in the global event, it is one of the most eagerly awaited events that people around the globe witness. Winning a medal at the Olympics gives an athlete a lifetime of glory. This year’s games were expected to be held at Tokyo on the 24th of July. However, the global Coronavirus pandemic has made authorities rethink the decision to conduct the games altogether.
An unprecedented event
Since January, the world has been reeling from the aftermath of the Coronavirus, a deadly new disease for which there is absolutely no cure or resistance. The alarming death rate and the intensity with which it has spread across the world has forced governments to take drastic decisions to combat this virus. With more than half of the world struggling to fight this virus, people have been given stern instructions to not crowd around in public places. A lot of public events in the world have been postponed, this includes popular sporting events as well. This includes not just football, basketball, tennis and cricket events but also the Tokyo Olympics as well.
The Tokyo Olympics were scheduled to begin on the 24th of July and conclude on the 9th of August. The latest reports from the International Olympic Committee has confirmed that the Tokyo Olympics will be postponed until 2021. The news comes after a series of talks between Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe and the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach. While there were speculations regarding the postponement of the Olympic Games, the final decision to postpone the games to the next year was made owing to the coronavirus pandemic. Shinzo Abe stated here that while canceling the games was out of question, both Bach and he had agreed that the most appropriate response to the unfolding tragedy was to postpone the games.
“We agreed that a postponement would be the best way to ensure that the athletes are in a perfect condition when they compete and to guarantee the safety of the spectators.” Abe told the press shortly after a conference call with Bach. He added that the games would be held in the summer of 2021. In a joint statement, the IOC (International Olympic Committee said that the games would be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than 2021 because their utmost priority was to safeguard the health of the athletes and everyone involved in the Olympic Games and the International Community.
The committee has also decided that the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games would continue to be called the ‘Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020 even if they are held in the next year. The Olympic Flame will also stay in Japan during this period as a’ beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times’. A few members of the International Olympic Committee have tried to raise the prospects of a ‘cherry blossom Games in April although it is more likely to be held in July 2021 when there are very few sporting events to be held. The World Athletics Federation has already stated that it would have no qualms about holding the 2021 championships that are to be held in Eugene to 2022. Fina, the organizers of the 2021 swimming world championships in Japan have also declared that they would follow suit and postpone the event that is scheduled to be held next year to the year after.
Consequences of the postponement
The decision to postpone the games is a huge loss to the host country, Japan which has spent more than $12 billion on the event. Huge sums of money are also at stake for sponsors and broadcasters of the event. It was estimated by Goldman Sachs that Japan was most likely to lose more than $ 4.5 billion in domestic and inbound consumption this year if the Olympic Games were not held as scheduled. However, Japan has welcomed the decision by the IOC to postpone the games with disappointment and resignation. It must be noted that the games have been postponed only owing to the World War in the history of the games. Naturally, the decision is seen as a huge loss across the world. The Japanese people have already accepted that the games would be the biggest victims of the pandemic if the games were held as scheduled.