2020 Olympics Postponed: Athlete Messages of Hope

On March 19th, the Olympic Flame was passed from Greece to Japan, but the question of when the games would actually occur, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was undecided. Still, the ceremony proceeded as a message of hope in these difficult times. The IOC and Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee released a statement saying, “The Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present.”

When exactly will the Olympics take place? On March 30, The International Olympic Committee and Japanese organizers announced the new dates for the Tokyo Olympics: The Olympics will run July 21 – August 8, 2021, and the Paralympics will run August 24 – September 5, 2021.

As an event that has continually brought the world together every four years since it was founded in 1896, the next Olympics will be a special celebration of national and global strength. There is nothing like a common enemy to bring a sense of comradery.

The games typically run on a four-year cycle and the postponement of the 2020 Olympics is unprecedented. The Olympics have only been postponed three times in history; 1916, 1940, 1944, because of World Wars I and II. They have never–until this year—been canceled for a pandemic. 

Athletes have responded to the news in different ways around the globe. Many have sent out hopeful messages to their fans and supporters. After hearing the news, relay runner Allyson Felix told Time Magazine, “At a time like this it’s hard not to focus on the loss, to not think about what could have been.” She discussed the losses occurring around the globe, from job losses to loss of life, but continued, saying, “We need to grieve the losses of others, but we have to hold onto hope. I’ve woken up each and every morning for the last 6,055 days [since age 17] wanting to send a message of hope. Hope that you can accomplish your dreams, hope that you can make it through your deepest disappointment, hope that you can do things with integrity, hope that you can overcome—no matter what you are faced with...I am not sure what the future holds, but my goals have not changed. I still hope to experience the feeling of standing on the podium in 2021 and I hope my journey to try to get back there will inspire you to keep moving forward.” She also encouraged everyone to stay safe, stay inside, and wash your hands.

Many athletes, like climber Kyra Condie, are finding other ways to send messages of encouragement by making at-home training videos to stay strong while the stay-at-home order is in place. In a recent Instagram post, Condie encouraged her followers to reach out to others if they need advice and utilize the online climbing community. She also included pro-workout-at-home tips and positive hashtags like #staystrong and #stayactive.

Despite the significant disappointment of the postponement of the 2020 Olympic games, athletes from all over the world have shared their continued positivity, hope, and perseverance with the global community, inspiring the rest of us to follow suit.