The 2020 Summer Olympics Have Been Postponed

Worries of the Coronavirus, which has been spreading rapidly all over the globe, have encouraged the International Olympic Committee and Governor of Tokyo to reschedule the highly anticipated 2020 Summer Olympics. Athletes and coaches have been pleading for the Olympics to be postponed due to a lack of access to training facilities since the global restrictions being put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. For example, USA Swimming wrote a formal statement on March 20 urging the IOC to move the Olympics to a later date as the athletes wouldn’t be at their best and the health of fans, athletes, judges, and trainers was of the utmost importance. Of the athletes that have published reactions to this statement, they all agree, those including Simone Manuel (USA, Swimming), Katie Ledecky (USA, Swimming), Jenn Suhr (USA, Pole Vault), Carli Lloyd (USA, Soccer), and Bradley Adkins (USA, High Jump).

Jenn Suhr, an American pole vaulter stated that “the current situation our world is facing is bigger than the Olympic Games” and that she stands by the IOC’s decision to delay the games. Suhr has turned 39 recently, meaning the 2020 Olympic Games statistically may have been her last shot at a gold medal, but she stated that more Olympic glory is the last thing on her and her husband’s minds.

The official statement from the President of the IOC and Prime Minister of Japan is that the Olympics would no longer take place in 2020 but would not take place any later than Summer 2021. With the rapid acceleration in the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide, every party involved agreed it was in the world’s best interest to not partake in the Summer Olympics this year.

This is the first time in history that the Olympic games have been postponed, but they have been canceled three times in history due to an ongoing war. One of those three times was the Tokyo 1940 Summer Olympics which was canceled because of World War II and war breaking out between Japan and China. The following Winter Olympics which would’ve been held in nearby Sapporo, Japan were also ultimately canceled. And lastly, the 1944 Summer Olympics scheduled to be in Cortina d’Ampezzo were also canceled. All three locations that were supposed to host the Olympics during that time eventually hosted later in the future.

Because this is a pandemic, not a war, The IOC said in their statement that “the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present”.

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