Right now, there are no major sports being played anywhere; that is how the novel coronavirus pandemic has affected the sports world. Sporting events set to be played in March and April like the NCAA basketball tournaments and Opening Day for the MLB have all been either postponed or cancelled. But the concern has finally reached the world’s biggest event of the summer and has caused some big changes.
The International Olympics Committee (IOC) has come to the decision to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to 2021. The original dates set for the event were July 24 to August 9, 2020, but the IOC is now looking at a date no later than the summer of 2021.
At the beginning of the spread of the virus, there was an uncertainty about if the effect would go as far as postponing an event like this, but the faster and more intense the spread of the virus got, the more some sort of change had to be made.
Besides the biggest and most obvious concern of people’s safety being compromised if this wasn’t under control by the summer, there was also another glaring issue with having the Olympics on schedule. The way that many are living their lives right now, due the pandemic, makes it basically impossible for the athletes who would be participating to be training the way they should be right now.
Here in America, the whole country is in quarantine, and while it is possible for the athletes to be training at home, will the ones who don’t have access to the facilities they need to train, like an Olympic-sized pool for a swimmer really be in their best shape? Before the announcement of the postponement, USA Swimming put out a statement urging it to happen and mentioned how many of their swimmers were finding it difficult to train for the upcoming summer.
U.S.A. Swimming wasn’t the only organization who felt this was the right decision. On March 22, Team Canada officially announced that they would not be sending their athletes to the summer games if they were still being held in 2020.
And even though the Olympics are not known for being the least problematic organization, to put it lightly, the idea of keeping the original schedule set in the current world’s climate was just unimaginable. Even if the pandemic was over and the safety of the people would definitely not be affected, there would still obstacles.
Even though the postponement was the right move, there are now new questions that will need to be answered, one being what will happen to the athletes that already qualified for the Olympics. Will they keep that spot? While the morally right answer is yes, they earned that so they should keep it, that might not be what happens. What if the countries make these athletes re-qualify, because a lot can change in a year? Is that fair?
There is also talk of when the games are played it will be in the spring of 2021. If that happens, how will that affect the NBA players who were going to be on team USA? Will their NBA teams let them if they are on a team heading for the playoffs? And it is not just basketball players it could affect, it could also affect softball players who play in college.
While the first move might have been made yesterday, the conversation of how the Tokyo Olympics will look, if they even happen, is still far from over.
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