For a long time, athletes and politicians responsible of a lot of countries were alerting for the necessity to postpone the 2020 Olympic Games as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and now finally we have the decision of the International Olympic committee. The Olympic Games will only take place in 2021.
A decision that is a bit late
It’s certain that the sporting event was only scheduled to take place in the Summer, more precisely to start on July 24th and occur during a good portion of the month of August. However, and just like it had happened with the EURO 2020 or the Copa America, it seemed relatively unanimous that, right now, there were no conditions for it to take place.
For a couple of weeks, the IOC and the Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe were showing some resistance. However, as the worldwide pandemic crisis gets worse, they don’t have a lot of room for maneuver at this stage.
To have a better idea of the small madness it would be to maintain the sporting event this year, right now 20% of the world population is restricted to isolation, and a good portion of that population belongs to developed countries where the crushing majority of the athletes attending the Olympic Games should come from.
That way, it’s perfectly obvious that most of the participants would come to Tokyo without the adequate preparation for the respective sports or disciplines and that should clearly lower the overall quality of the tournament.
Safety would always be at risk
We don’t know if by the end of July the pandemic outbreak will already be controlled, but what certainly wouldn’t contribute towards limiting the potential propagation of the coronavirus would be a gathering of the size of the Olympic Games, that could even jeopardize the worldwide work of several months.
With people coming from everywhere around the world, it’s perfectly visible that it would be a big risk to have the event taking place with the current circumstances, not only because of the safety of the athletes, but also for the entire world population.
OFICIAL! O COI acaba de confirmar que as Olimpíadas e Paralimpíadas de #Tóquio2020 foram oficialmente adiadas por conta da pandemia do #coronavírus. A nota oficial não informa uma nova data para as competições, mas diz que deverão ocorrer entre o fim deste ano e o verão de 2021. pic.twitter.com/BQBKBMP2gF
— BandSports (@bandsports) March 24, 2020
Japan is far from being a country heavily affected by this worldwide pandemic. However, they aren’t immune to the virus and opening up their doors to the world during an entire month in continuous fashion could be a childish and highly risky decision.
Postponement should give more time to the athletes
With most of the athletes that should attend the Olympic Games in Tokyo on 2020 confined to social isolation and without the best conditions to have the ideal preparation for the Olympic Games, it would be difficult for many of them to live up to their full potential and others could even fail to qualify since not everyone had ensured qualification yet.
This way and trusting that everything will be solved within a couple months, the athletes will once again have time to restart their preparation for the Olympic Games and that way they can present themselves in maximum strength to fight for medals for their own countries without any kind of physical limitations, neither competitive nor safety ones.
Olympic flame should remain lit for a year
On dark times where the world population is fighting against a virus that has been proving to be lethal and very easily spread, the organizers of the Olympic Games – Japan and the International Olympic Committee – opted to maintain the Olympic flame burning during the entire period between the time it was supposed to take place this year and the new date, within a year.
The organizers point towards the symbolism of the Olympic flame, suggesting it serves as a beacon of hope for the world in troubled times, working as a light at the end of the tunnel while society is fighting with this current issue.
This is a beautiful attitude from the organizers that, for some time were criticized by several nations for their reluctance to postpone the event.
Apesar do adiamento, evento continuará usando a marca Tóquio 2020. Medida pretende evitar prejuízos e beneficia patrocinadores, que não terão que refazer suas ações promocionais. #Tóquio2020 #Adiamento https://t.co/bMcfOiaUgy
— Meio&Mensagem (@meioemensagem) March 25, 2020
It seems like in this case, and as it has been usual a bit all around the world on these days of adversity, common sense and the preservation of people’s safety prevailed, because, if everything goes well, like we expect, there will be more than enough time for all kind of sporting events, especially these ones of planetwide scale that so many times keep us glued to the screens or make us travel very large distances to contact with the environment of these big events.
With the postponements of the EURO and the Copa America and now the Olympic Games as well, the excitement of this Summer moves over to 2021, but that doesn’t mean this will be a quiet summer, because the club competitions a bit all over Europe have to be concluded and that will be a priority of the institutions as soon as this pandemic outbreak slows down.