Sofie Paternite, Sports Co-Editor
COVID-19 has evidently changed every aspect of society as we combat the hardships of the pandemic and try to stay safe. This includes, but is not limited to, schools, jobs, restaurants and entertainment. While everyone tries to find their way in achieving daily goals, some things have been put on the backburner in order to be safe, even things that rarely change.
The 2020 Summer Olympics were postponed for an entire year due to COVID-19, changing a schedule that had been strictly followed for almost all years prior, only ever changing due to war. Athletes who have been training hard have had to put their work on hold, revenue from the event has been reallocated and many upset fans were told to be patient.
According to ESPN, the 2020 Summer Olympics were originally supposed to be held in Tokyo, Japan, in July 2020, and now plan to commence on July 23, 2021, and close Aug. 8, 2021. Despite postponement, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has still decided to call the event the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 to maintain the ingrained schedule and salvage the marketing headlines leading up to this event.
Not only did the schedule change shock the public, but many athletes as well. Years worth of training were knocked off balance, and motivation to persevere through adversity was low with minimal information available about COVID-19 in March 2020 when the IOC broke the news.
Many athletes were distraught over their hard work being thrown away. According to USA Today, American hurdler Lolo Jones tweeted, “I’ve had so many calls with athletes who have been in tears trying to train for their ultimate dream but not wanting to jeopardize their health…This was the right thing to do. May the world heal.” Even though there were some tears, it is evident that athletes would not want this any other way, in order to protect themselves and those they care about.
With promising results of a stable COVID-19 vaccine rollout and life resuming to a new normal in some countries, the Olympic games are still scheduled to take place this summer. However, this optimism does not hold true in Japan. According to a column from the LA Times, Japan is not in tune with the vaccine timeline like elsewhere, as “their low vaccination rate is a byproduct of th[eir] culture. Because of a general distrust of foreign drugs, Japan insisted on conducting its own domestic vaccine trials, which delayed the rollout and eliminated any chance of its population attaining herd immunity by the start of the Games on July 23.” According to Golf Digest, international spectators are banned from this year’s event in an effort to minimize spread of the virus. Only the Japanese public and participants can attend.
Even with disagreement on the IOC’s decision to host the Olympic games this summer, and not all quirks of the pandemic being fully worked out, the event is still scheduled to happen. Athletes are training to be stronger than ever, and the IOC is continuing to monitor the situation. All signs point to it not being cancelled- again.
Designed by: Isaac Weber