2020 Olympics Officially Pushed to 2021 Due to COVID-19 Concerns

Source: wptv.com

Source: wptv.com

Josh Hobbs

On Tuesday, sports fans across the world received the final nail in the coffin when the 2020 Summer Olympics were officially postponed. This marks the first time in the modern era that a global health issue has altered the games. The games have been canceled before due to war, back in 1916 for WWI, and 1940 and 1944 for WWII, but never have the games been postponed. It was also announced that the games would be pushed back only a year, and still be hosted in Tokyo. 

“[T]he 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 a joint statement by the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee and the IOC.

Almost every major sports league across the globe has been forced to suspend their seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic. We saw many of the biggest organizations, such as the NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, and several others, close down around two weeks ago, as cases started to skyrocket, as well as the death count.

Many started to question how long the IOC was going to drag its feet, on a decision, but Tuesday officially settled the dispute. On Monday, there had been lots of talk and speculation that an official decision was going to be made. IOC members, Dick Pound and Mark Adams, made comments earlier in the week that they both expected a postponement in the near future. 

“I see no other rational interpretation of the statements made by the IOC yesterday (Sunday). If there was to be a cancellation, that would have been easy to announce; if carrying on with the original plan, there was no need for communication. That most likely means postponement,” said Pound. 

The decision also comes as many nations and athletes in recent days have called for the Olympics committee to delay the games for various reasons. Most recently, these concerns were made public when both Canada and Australia announced that they would not be sending any athletes to the games due to coronavirus fears. 

“It’s clear the Games can’t be held in July,” said Ian Chesterman, Australian Team Chef de Mission for Tokyo. “Our athletes have been magnificent in their positive attitude to training and preparing, but the stress and uncertainty have been extremely challenging for them.”

The Canadian Olympic Committee also made a similar statement. 

“While we recognize the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community,” the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee said in a joint statement Sunday. “This is not solely about athlete health — it is about public health.”

The postponement of the games not only is due to affect the lives of all its fans and athletes but also a major impact financially. According to the Associated Press, several stakeholders, including the IOC – whose budget primarily relies on income from broadcast partners, will suffer dramatically from the postponement. 

As well as Japan itself, who reportedly has spent more than $28 billion to host the Summer Olympics, will see some major economic problems. One Japanese securities firm estimated earlier this month that a cancellation or postponement of the Olympics would reduce the country’s annual domestic product growth by 1.4% in 2020.

“This summer was supposed to be a culmination of your hard work and life’s dream, but taking a step back from competition to care for our communities and each other is the right thing to do,” USOPC chief executive officer Sarah Hirshland wrote to athletes after Tuesday’s decision.