The 2020 Olympics are being moved to 2021
September 21, 2020
There’s a cycle in the world that comes and goes every four years. Years like 2008, 2012, 2016, and now 2020 are memorable for many reasons. These years are just a little bit longer, thanks to February 29th. They also represent the election of a new president in the American political cycle. Another event every four years is the ever-exciting summer Olympics, which was scheduled to take place last summer in Tokyo, Japan.
This isn’t the first time Japan has hosted the Olympics, the latest time being in 1998, when they hosted the Winter Olympics in Nagano. The upcoming festivities will be different as they had to create a gigantic new facility to house all the competitors and audience members who were scheduled to come. But for now, the facility remains empty for everyone’s benefit.
The summer Olympics have been characterized in the past as two weeks of people from around the world showcasing their incredible, almost inhuman, athleticism. We’ve learned to love watching Usain Bolt stun everyone over and over again with how fast a person can be, Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky shoot through the giant swimming pools like underwater bullets, and Simone Biles leave everyone speechless with her ridiculously amazing feats of gymnastics. Just like all of 2020, the 2020 summer Olympics have been characterized by something else: the global pandemic.
This year’s Olympics were supposed to take place in Tokyo, but Covid-19 forced the events’ closures and pushed the games until next year. While past Olympic games have been cancelled by global events, such as wars, 2020 marks the first time the games were postponed instead. Despite the games taking place in 2021, the International Olympic Committee determined that the event will still remain with the name “Tokyo 2020” for marketing purposes, according to Olympic.org.
Due to choosing the location of the Olympics and building the facilities both being extensive processes, with years of development behind them, the Olympics will still take place in Tokyo. There will be no alterations to the events except for the year. There are also no plans to quarantine the athletes prior to competing at this point, according to Olympic.org. Decisions regarding the health and safety of the athletes will be made as the games draw closer next summer.
Despite the year long postponement, the Olympics will offer exciting new events. In order to appeal to the younger generations, the Olympics will have five new sports next year: baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing, according to Olympic.org. “Tokyo is also on track to be the most gender equal Olympic Games yet with a predicted 48.2% participation by women,” states Olympic.org.
With the Covid-19 pandemic still ravaging much of the world, it’s hard to imagine anything involving sports or audiences. An international event, like the Olympics, is even harder to fathom. 2021 may seem like a distant, Covid-free future, a dream of the “normal” life we all had once before, but the reality is that no one knows how long Covid will last. CNBC claims a vaccine could be available by the end of the year, but CNN predicts a spike in cases by December. One thing remains constant: The games will go on.
Even in the face of Covid-19, Tokyo officials are determined to keep the games going in 2021, according to NBC. Japan’s Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto told NBC reporters that the games will continue as planned at any costs. He states that, “Everyone involved with the games is working together to prepare, and the athletes are also making considerable efforts towards next year. I think we have to hold the games at any cost,” according to NBC.
In a world full of chaos, and a year where no one knows what’s around the next corner, it’s almost refreshing to know that the human race’s oldest tradition remains unwavering. The Olympics have always marked a time of global cooperation in the face of international tensions, and the next games are no different- except for the year they take place.