The Olympics Are No Match for COVID-19
By Maya Shavit
As the world is paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the world’s largest competition has been pushed back. The Olympics, originally scheduled for Tokyo in 2020, has been rescheduled for next summer, July of 2021. This decision was not taken lightly, but there is no way the Olympics, an event known for bringing players and fans together, could proceed in all of its grandeur during a worldwide pandemic. Despite the drastic time change, the event will still be called Tokyo 2020 when it happens. Previously rescheduled events due to the World Wars, like the Olympics of Antwerp in 1920 and London in 1948, retained their names to further acknowledge the stress of the previous years and allow the games to be a sense of relief for the whole world.
Even though the Olympics were pushed back one summer, the games will not be pushed back any further. John Coates, the head of the International Olympic Committee's coordination commission, told Japan’s Kyodo News that despite this schedule change, "We're proceeding on the basis that there is no Plan B of deferring the games again or anything like that." There will not be another date change even though many leading healthcare professionals do not feel optimistic about the new date, which is much closer than it seems. On top of the stress of the unknowns of the disease next summer, moving the Olympic games again would be too burdensome financially for a country which has already made plans for the event. The current cost of the delay has been estimated to be anywhere between two billion and six billion dollars.
The Olympics has been a stage for the world to come together, but, without any question, global health comes before the organization of the event. All the world can do now is search for a vaccine or a cure, while staying hopeful about the future of the world’s greatest competition.