Last March, the unthinkable has happened: the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has been delayed for a full year due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Under mounting pressure from both athletes and other Olympic organizations all over the world, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has officially announced that the games slated for July 2020 would be moved to July 23, 2021.
Almost a month after this decision, countries continue to battle the pandemic and the death toll continues to rise. Naturally, this now begs the question of whether or not the promised 2021 Games is viable at this point. After all, medical experts have yet to release a vaccine that would keep the virus at bay. In fact, it has been rumored that we might still be 12 to 18 months away from a permanent solution to beat the pandemic.
So, is a year enough to postpone the Olympics? Will Japan be able to do good on its promise to host the Tokyo Olympics in July next year? To this, the Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori says that the games have been delayed long enough. There is now zero chances of the Games being postponed further than July of next year, Mori shares with Kyodo News.
Earlier on, he had claimed to have convened with Prime Minister Abe about the postponement, and that they had considered either a one-year or two-year delay on the Games. The latter, he shared, had decided that a year would suffice for the pandemic to settle and the athletes to get back on track and represent their countries in the Olympics.
Despite this optimistic view from the Japanese government and the country’s officials of the Olympics, many are still doubtful of the practicability of a 2021 Olympics. Experts on global health security, as well as those from the medical field, believe that it’s simply premature to promise the world that the Olympics Games is going to happen in July next year.
With global resources depleted and the current circumstances of the athletes in the pandemic, it might simply be too soon to say that the Games are definitely going to happen in 2021. After all, we’re well past the first quarter of the year, and there’s still no improvement on the flattening of the curve for novel coronavirus cases. Of course, we still have the rest of the year to try and manage the virus. But even then, there’s still so much to rebuild on–the budget for the athletes, our health, and even the economy.
So to simply give our two cents on the matter, we say that Japan might be better off withholding promises…at least until vaccine or treatment for coronavirus arrives.
As experts would have it, not just regarding the 2020 Olympics but for all global endeavors in the coming months, we need to employ a “wait-and-see” approach. If not for just the athletes, we have to think about the people on the podium watching the games and how they might still run the risk of contracting the virus.