The Games will go on

2020 Summer Olympics postponed to 2021


Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license

The 2020 Summer Olympics were officially postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clare Erwin, The Delphi Editor

For the first time since World War II, and for the first time in a period of peace, the Olympic Games have been postponed.

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, along with the International Olympic Committee’s President Thomas Bach, to postpone the 2020 Summer Olympics Games. The games, which were to be held in Tokyo on July 24, are to be rescheduled to July 23 to August 8, 2021.

Although the cancellation was highly unfavored by many, the restrictions that COVID-19 placed on athletes in isolation, as well as the potential for large crowds to facilitate the spread of the virus, ultimately made the decision clear. “In case this becomes difficult, in order to make the athletes our top priority, we may have no choice but to decide to postpone the Games,” Abe said.

Pullquote Photo

In case this becomes difficult, in order to make the athletes our top priority, we may have no choice but to decide to postpone the Games”

— Shinzo Abe

The announcement was tough news for the athletes who have spent their whole lives training for the games, as well as for the city of Tokyo itself. According to the Washington Post, Tokyo will lose around $1 billion in ticket sales alone. In addition to this loss, costs for venues and arenas for 2021 will have to be re-evaluated, and the money Tokyo would have earned from tourism will also be lost.

Since its beginning in 1896, the Olympic Games have been cancelled only three times. In 1916, the summer Olympics in Berlin were cancelled due to World War I. In 1940 and 1944, Tokyo and London’s Games were also cancelled as a result of the fighting during the World War II.

Yet the games have also persevered through some of the worst times, including the Tlatelolco Massacre in Mexico City, which occurred before the 1968 Olympics, as well as the Palestinian terrorist attack on Munich in the summer of 1972. Now, the threat of the Coronavirus proves serious enough to warrant the postponement of the 2020 Games.

But waiting may not be such a bad option in the end. The postponement certainly creates more anticipation for the games and gives spectators something to look forward to. Additionally, the introduction of new sports to the 2020 Summer Games is also something to get excited about. Among these are surfing, skateboarding, sport climbing and karate, along with the return of baseball and softball.

Despite the complications and disappointments surrounding the postponement, it ultimately will ensure that all athletes have equal opportunity and can compete to their best abilities. It’s also a decision that puts the health and well-being of the general public first and reminds the world that even the most challenging times come to an end.