The Tokyo Olympics 2020 have finally succumbed to the coronavirus. Just like Euro 2020, the Games have officially been postponed until 2021 amid the global pandemic.
The International Olympic Committee and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held talks about the future of the games, and they came to an agreement that it was the right decision to hold the Games back a year due to the unprecedented circumstances.
“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community,” the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee said in a joint statement.
They added that the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games will still be called the “Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020” even though they will be held in 2021. They also believe that the Olympic games could stand as a “beacon of hope to the world” amid these troubled times.
The IOC and Organising Committee’s decision to postpone the Games comes in the wake of the major Tokyo Olympics 2020 news that both Canada and Australia would not be sending athletes to take part in the Olympics if it were to push through as scheduled in July due to the coronavirus.
Despite the growing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IOC seemed keen on pushing forward with the Olympics. Long-serving IOC member Dick Pound raised the possibility of cancelling the Games, but a Japanese spokesperson made it clear that there were no plans to cancel or postpone the Olympics.
Even with Japan having to deal with the disease, preparations for the Games were still in progress. The famed Olympic torch relay was still ongoing and had just reached Japan prior to the postponement.
But with the severity of the coronavirus pandemic still showing little signs of slowing down in the near future, it seemed inevitable that the Games be pushed back. There were too many obstacles to overcome, from athletes struggling to train to the overall health and security of both athletes and spectators during the Games itself.
The start of countries withdrawing from the Games amid the coronavirus crisis was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and the IOC had no choice but to succumb to the mounting pressure.
The IOC has yet to release more specific details about when the Games will be held, only that it must be rescheduled to a date “beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021.”
If it pushes through with the same late-July start it was scheduled for this year, it likely won’t be in competition with Euro 2020, whose proposed new schedule is from 11 June-11 July 2021.
But if they decide to hold the Games earlier, that could mean a potential conflict with the NBA, which may also have to reconfigure its season schedule moving forward. If the NBA schedule does coincide with the Olympics, there’s a chance that some NBA superstars don’t go to the Games.
There is also the possibility that the one-year delay could mean that LeBron James, who would be 36 years old by then, decides not to participate.
But if the NBA can avoid this potential scheduling conflict, this delay could also be beneficial to Team USA. Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant wouldn’t have been able to play in this year’s games due to their recent injuries, but they will likely be ready for action in a year’s time.
After their disappointing showing in the FIBA World Cup, where several NBA superstars did not play, Team USA’s Tokyo Olympics 2020 chance of dominating the basketball tournament would be overwhelming if they had the likes of Thompson, Durant, and Stephen Curry in their team.
It’s still much too early to tell how anything will shake out, though. The coronavirus pandemic situation remains very fluid, and it could yet force more drastic changes on the sporting calendar in the coming months.
But once all the plans are set in stone, rest assured that SBOTOP will have a host of market available for all the major Olympic events.
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