Yesterday, March 23, International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Dick Pound announced that the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics are now postponed and will not start July 24. This decision was made in response to the Coronavirus pandemic and attempts in trying to contain the virus.
Multiple other sports organizations, such as the NHL, MLB, and NBA, have already postponed their seasons in response to controlling the outbreak.
Even though many athletes are devastated that they will not be able to showcase their skills this summer, they are all supportive of the postponement due to health concerns. The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee surveyed 125 veteran olympians and found that more than 70% of the athletes were in support of postponing the games.
Besides the main concern of the health and well being of the athletes, if they were to compete this summer, they would have lost weeks of training beforehand. Currently, many of these athletes are self-quarantined at home and are unable to practice and train with their coaches and teammates. They have lost the ability to go to the gym, pool, or work out in facilities outside of their houses.
The CEO of the USA Swimming federation, Tom Hinchey, released a statement last week requesting the Olympics be pushed back to 2021 so athletes could make up for lost time.
“Our athletes are under tremendous pressure, stress and anxiety, and their mental health and wellness should be among the highest priorities,” Hinchey said in the statement.
He is now urging the IOC to ensure that all athletes have adequate time to rest and take care of their health before having to return to training.
The IOC has not released the new start date of the summer Olympics, as they are worried they would potentially have to postpone it a second time. The effects of the coronavirus pandemic will be lasting whether it be weeks, months, or even years. Because of this, they are waiting on determining the new start date.
In spite of the postponement, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is hopeful for the future of the Tokyo Olympics. He has previously stated that the games will not be canceled, and he does not have any intentions of ever canceling them- just postponing.
He has repeatedly emphasized that when the Olympics are finally able to resume, it will be proof that mankind has beat the coronavirus.
Artwork » Ryan Hong » The Lancer