The 2020 Summer Olympic Games are set to be hosted in Tokyo, Japan on July 24th – August 9th. The current state of society is one that is in no place to host any type of event at this time, but what nobody knows if the world will be ready by July 24, 2020.
According to Haruyuki Takahashi, one of the members of the Tokyo 2020 executive board stated, “We need to start preparing for any possibility. If the Games can’t be held in the summer, a delay of one or two years would be most feasible.”
Then later clarified that his statement was a personal opinion and not a professional statement on the matter and that the IOC President, Thomas Bach states that the Games must go on.
On Friday, March 13, Japan’s Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto dismissed suggestions that Tokyo 2020 should be postponed.
At this time, the Games are not going anywhere except Opening Ceremonies on July 24, 2020. There are major financial, scheduling, and logistical implications if the games were to get postponed a year or two. The cost of hosting these Games in Tokyo has exceeded $12.35 billion, according to the organizing committee.
Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, stated the Games are to go on as planned “without a hitch.” I do not see a world that these Games go on “without a hitch” while having spectators in attendance. Being in attendance at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro myself, the close proximity and mass amounts of spectators from all over the world will cause a resurgence of an outbreak shortly after the time of the Tokyo Games.
Japan has had more than 1,400 cases of the coronavirus, but avoided an increase in cases. I can see a scenario where the Games happen with ZERO spectators with the IOC implementing an extensive screening process for the countries that enter within a certain permitter of any Olympic facility.
There are billions of dollars poured into the largest sporting event in the world along with a decade of planning. Sponsors, media rights, governing bodies, and athletes are not going to be able to cancel or just postpone such an event. The last time an Olympics was outright cancelled was in 1940 and 1944 for World War II, then before that in 1916 for World War I. There were nowhere near the financial implications on an event like this at that time compared to now.
The current format of the Summer and Winter Olympics alternating every two years started in 1994. At that time, the Winter Olympics only had a two year gap from the previous in 1992, the last time the Summer and Winter Games were held in the same year. This would be an extenuating circumstance to call for another hiccup in the pattern and postpone the Olympics to 2021 or 2022. I believe 2021 is the best option, as having two Olympic Games in the same calendar year is going to be tough logistically in this day in age.
Bumping the Olympics back to 2021 will cause all governing bodies of Summer Olympic sports to shift their entire 2021 schedule. But for the overall health and wellness of the athletes, coaches, staff, and spectators this is the right move. The 2020 Olympics Games are expected to bring in 11,091 athletes from 206 countries for 339 events in 33 sports.
The 2016 Olympic Games brought in 500,000 tourists (including me) to the city of Rio de Janeiro, that had a population of 6 million at the time. The 2020 Olympic Games are predicted to bring in one million toursists from around the globe PER DAY, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO). The population of of Tokyo is over 13 million people, with the Greater Tokyo Area population over 38 million, making this city the most densely populated city in the world.
The 2016 Olympic Games were worried about contracting the Zika virus, and I wasn’t worried much about that, in fact while I was there for a month I only saw two mosquitos in my time in Rio. But this is a whole different ball game, you can’t see it coming and you don’t know who has it and an event this size in a city this size can cause a second wave mass outbreak in August.
IOC President Thomas Bach & Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, do the right thing and move the Games to Summer 2021 for the sake of the human race.