Tokyo 2020 Faces an Olympic-Sized Roadblock Due to COVID-19

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Kluivert Suquino

With the gravity of the looming Coronavirus, athletes all over the world are going to have to hold out at least one year in order to participate in the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Japheth Oyedepo, Staff Writer

The Olympics is without a doubt one of the most anticipated sporting events around the globe. Taking place every four years, there is always a certain buzz in the air whenever it comes around, even if one is not in a host city.

Here in the United States, bags from McDonalds contain Olympic graphics sponsoring Team USA. Many companies such as Johnson and Johnson and Volkswagen air commercials with Olympic stars. However, despite the commercial marketing, the biggest result of the Olympics is national pride. American athletes were preparing to display this nationalism and dominate the world stage this year in Tokyo, until a microscopic, yet, global roadblock impeded their stride.

“Because of the current situation, I highly doubt that the Olympics will take place. Cases for the novel Coronavirus have become more and more prevalent all around the world, and the Olympics bring people from all over the world into one country. It would be a health hazard,” freshmen Jon Trubea said.

COVID-19, also known as the novel Coronavirus, is a global pandemic that has circumnavigated the globe, wreaking havoc and death in its wake. Most, if not all, of the sports tournaments and leagues here in the United States have been postponed and suspended, like the National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB) and Major League Soccer (MLS).

International tournaments have also been affected by the pandemic, especially in Europe. All of the European Top 5 soccer leagues have been suspended, while tournaments such as Euro 2020 and Copa America have been postponed until the summer of 2021.

The postponement of the Olympic Games is beneficial since these new dates give the health authorities and athletes enough time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

— International Olympic Committee

With the Olympics fast approaching on Jul. 24, officials have been calling for the tournaments’ postponement.

As of March 23rd, Canada and Australia have already refused to send their athletes to the games in Tokyo over obvious health concerns. Many federations have already called for its postponement or cancellation, including: Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“I love the Olympics, but I do not want an Olympics without fans. Fans keep the atmosphere of the games. The roar of the crowd elevates the moment to a whole other level. I watched a soccer game without any fans on TV and there was no atmosphere, even when the players would celebrate,” sophomore Bill Pines said.

Because of the current situation, athletes have not been able to qualify and practice for the games. Qualification events have already been postponed across most of the Olympic sports. This is a very large issue if it is not resolved by the start of the games. If the athletes who can represent their country are not determined, then the games cannot be held.

Tokyo has spent at least 12.6 billion United States dollars on the Olympic Games. This hefty price is hopefully not going to waste as the International Olympic committee state that cancellation is off the table. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) also has made claims that a decision will be made within the next three weeks as it continues to evaluate scenarios involving the games.

Whether the games take place or not, the health of the athletes, employees and civilians must be taken into account as the organization’s first priority. If the games must be postponed, so be it. Sports fanatics all over the globe would rather have a late and entertaining Tokyo 2020 than one that is pervaded with overwhelming concerns. If this virus wishes to teach us one thing, it sure points the finger toward patience.