By BROOKE BAXTER
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the largest and most complex sporting event in the world, has been postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19, although it will still be held in Tokyo, Japan, as was originally planned.
“We were fortunate to be working with a very good Organizing Committee and were able to navigate through complicated discussions” said Olympic Games Executive Direction Christope Dubi in an Olympic.com article. “This alignment between all parties really helped us to make the right decision at the same time.”
Given its complexity as a massive global sporting event, the postponement has created complications for every party involved. The athletes competing have trained for years in preparation for the games to take place this summer, and are now forced to plan out another year’s worth of training. Competitors also have to deal with conflicting schedules from any other sports teams they may have been involved with.
“When you’ve already been waiting for a year, another year feels so far and there’s so many people that come together to help me to be able to make this happen,” USA Olympic Sprinter Allyson Felix said in an interview with The New York Times. “To ask everyone on board to do it another year, I felt just a little bit overwhelmed with all of that”. Felix, like countless other athletes all over the world, has been forced to adapt to the accessibility of most training facilities due to COVID-19 in order to maintain her athletic prowess.
Additionally, Suppliers, broadcast and media partners, workforce and volunteers were all prepared to dedicate their time, effort and supplies to the running of the 2020 Olympics. Spectators from around the world have also been impacted by the rescheduling of the Olympics. Many bought tickets and made travel arrangements for the Olympic games in 2020. For many, this trip could only be afforded once and it is very possible that spectators planned for additional experiences to take place around this trip.
“The Olympic Movement has walked in unison through this crisis, and the support we got was remarkable. It was understood by everybody that this was the best thing to do in this context.” Dubi said in the same article, “A postponement is never ideal, but at least we have all the conditions in place to deliver the best event possible, so we have a lot of confidence that we are going to deliver great Games next year.”
However, some medical experts are still skeptical about the ability for the Olympics to be held in 2021, due to the current lack of any kind of vaccine to prevent COVID-19.
“My personal opinion is that if an effective vaccine has not been developed, it will be difficult to hold the Olympic Games,” said the president of the Japan Medical Association, Dr. Yoshitake Yokokura, in an interview with The New York Times. “I would not say they should not be held, but I would say that it would be exceedingly difficult.”
At the moment, the Olympics are still scheduled for 2021, and are planned to take place from July 23rd to August 8th.