Olympics delayed by COVID-19


For the first time in seventy-six years, the Olympics start date has been changed. The summer Olympics that were to go forward this summer in Tokyo will instead shift to 2021. 

The last time this happened was during the 1944 Summer Olympics. World War II, the war that cancelled the 1944 Olympics, had also led to the cancellation of the 1940 Olympics. 

The only other time that the Olympics have been cancelled was in 1916 during World War I. There is no war that is delaying the start of the 2020 Summer Olympics, but the Coronavirus outbreak has caused concern for many, including Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee. 

Eventually, the Olympic Committee reached an agreement to push the start date of the Olympics back to July 23, 2021, nearly a year after the initial start. Bach announced that the date was picked to give organizers the maximum time to deal with the fallout from Covid-19. 

“I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, the Tokyo metropolitan government, the Japanese government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge,” Bach said after he made the decision to delay the games. 

One of the countless athletes affected by this decision is  Kate Nye, who is an American weightlifter. Nye was forced to make a decision that wouldn’t have needed to be made if it wasn’t for the outbreak. In order to continue her pursuit of winning an Olympic medal, Kate has decided to hold off going to graduate school for another year. This was a difficult decision for Kate to make, but one she felt was necessary. 

Kate said in a recent interview with the New York Times that “It’s a little bit longer of a delay than I had hoped, but I’m just thankful they were able to successfully postpone the event.” 

Michael Lynch, a former director of global sponsorships for Visa who works with a number of Olympic partners, said the new date in 2021 is a good time because it does not conflict with the major North American and European sporting events that will hopefully be played. 

A rising question that continues to pop up is what will happen with the next Summer Olympics that are supposed to be held in Paris in 2024. Athletes are supposed to be given four years to train, but due to the delay of the 2020 Olympics, they will be only given three. 

Of course it is still early and they will most likely be pushed back another year. Hopefully the spread of the Coronavirus is halted as soon as possible, but one thing is for sure, we will see you in Tokyo eventually.