Loughborough Volunteer Leah Langley discusses the postponing Olympics and Paralympics Games.
The Olympic Games and Paralympic Games have been postponed for the first time in history due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. This is the first major disruption to the games since the 1944 Summer Olympics was cancelled amid World War II – the 1940 Summer Olympics, that were also meant to be held in Tokyo, were cancelled too.
The Olympic Games were meant to be taking place on July 24th,2020 and running until August 9th,2020, with the Paralympics following from August 25th, 2020 until September 6th, 2020. The new dates mean that the Olympic Games will now start on July 23rd, 2021 and run until August 8th, 2021, and the Paralympic Games will now run from August 24th, 2021 until September 5th, 2021.
Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe had already establishing that “cancelling the Games was out of the question”, and International Olympic Committee President, Thomas Bach “agreed 100%” that the most appropriate response was a postponement.
Abe expressed that himself and Bach, “agreed that a postponement would be the best way to ensure that the athletes are in peak condition when they compete and to guarantee the safety of the spectators” in a later statement that he released regarding the situation. Bach believes that the Olympics Games now represent a “light at the end of this tunnel”.
Andrew Parsons, the President of the International Paralympic Committee is also onboard with the postponement and expressed that, “When the Paralympic Games do take place in Tokyo next year, they will be an extra-special display of humanity uniting as one, a global celebration of human resilience and a sensational showcase of sport.”
Athletes, worldwide, are starting to come to terms with the postponement with a mixture of emotions. Olympic Marathon Champion Eliud Kipchoge praised the “wise decision” to postpone the Games until 2021 whilst USA’s double Olympic Swimming Gold medallist, Lilly King, wrote on Instagram: “Just one more year to get better #Tokyo2020.”
There had already been questions raised about whether it was safe for the fames to go ahead and hundreds of athletes had been pushing for urgent action. Australia and Canada pulled their athletes out of the competition and several other nations then followed suit.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson, World Champion Heptathlete for GB, was one of the leading athletes to raise concerns about the Games still going ahead writing: “Waited eight years for this, what’s another one in the grand scheme of things? As an athlete, it’s heart-breaking news about the Olympics being postponed until 2021, but it’s for all the right reasons and the safety of everyone! Stay indoors.”
Despite the obvious disappointment, it is completely understandable why this decision has been made, and for now people are just happy they have something to look forward to next year and it hasn’t been cancelled all together.