2020 Olympics Postponed

Jack Carmichael, Reporter

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to wreak havoc across the world. It has canceled, postponed, and suspended many sports seasons, among other various big events. The world can now add another event to the already long list of events affected by the coronavirus. On March 24, the International Olympic Committee announced the postponement of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. 

Later, the IOC announced that the games would be pushed back to the summer of 2021. The games are scheduled for July 23 through August 8, but with the coronavirus still rampant all over the world, this is an uncertainty. This marks the fourth cancellation of the Olympic games since the opening of the first modern Olympic games in 1896. The first three instances fell during World War I (1916) and World War II (1940, 1944). 

The 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil went on despite the Zika virus. But the overall impact of the Zika outbreak was a much different issue than the current coronavirus pandemic. 

FWCD Track and Field and Cross Country Coach Jared Connaughton ran for Team Canada at the 2008 Olympics and the 2012 Olympics. 

“There are events in between. There are world championships. There are Pan-Am games. So, we’re [track athletes] kind of always preparing for something,” Connaughton said. 

Connaughton also discussed the many variables that could help or hurt all of the athletes that are vying for a spot at the 2021 Olympic games. He mentioned injuries as one key challenge that these athletes will face. 

Another test that these athletes are facing because of the coronavirus, is the lack of access to training places. Many athletes have been forced to be creative in their training habits. 

Connaughton talked about his time preparing for games when he trained in groups of competitive, talented runners in order to further push himself. 

“I had a phenomenal training group when I was training and losing that opportunity due to restrictions on public gathering would be the hardest thing to adjust to,” Connaughton said.

For the millions of people that watch the Olympics, many of the big names will not be back in 2021. Jamaican track star Usain Bolt retired in 2017. American legend Michael Phelps has reiterated multiple times that he was not going to compete in 2020, but it wouldn’t be the first time he came out of retirement. Missy Franklin’s promising career as a swimmer for the USA has come to an end due to a shoulder injury. 

The 2021 Olympic Games will feature many new faces. The postponement also brings a one year gap before the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing. One thing is for sure, with all the uncertainty surrounding the virus, the world can only hope that the coronavirus allows for the games to go on.