2020 was meant to be a calendar year to remember. Aside from the number of blockbuster films that were scheduled for an early release (namely Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond), the event on everybody’s radar was that of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. As the biggest international sporting event in the year, few things can top the Olympics and naturally, given that the Games only come around every four years, it makes for quite a celebratory time – for athletes and audiences alike.
Regardless of your sporting preferences, there’s something about the camaraderie of athletes and the dedication they put into their respective sports that is not only inspirational, but makes for the kind of entertainment few Netflix dramas could script. And so, when it was announced that the Olympics would be postponed due to the global coronavirus pandemic that threw not just sport, but the entire world into turmoil, the overwhelming sensation was one of disappointment. But if new reports are to be believed, fans will get a 2021 Olympic experience.
According to the International Olympic Committee’s vice-president John Coates, the Tokyo Olympics will go ahead next year even regardless of the Covid-19 situation. In an interview with the AFP, Coates announced that the Games will start as planned on July 23 “with or without Covid”, stressing that the Games have never been cancelled outside of world wars.
Coates said: “The Games were going to be, their theme, the Reconstruction Games after the devastation of the tsunami. Now very much these will be the Games that conquered Covid, the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Given the significance of the Games, many have come to see them as an event that will unite the world once more and serve as a symbol of humanity’s triumph over the coronavirus – a pandemic that has left no country unaffected and has been of a scale that has never been witnessed before in our lifetime. But despite all of this, scientists and experts in the field of health have warned that the Olympics are unlikely to occur even in 2021 as many believe the pandemic will not be contained in time. Even now, as the scientific community has galvanised to find a vaccine, it could take years to reach some of the poorer countries and extensive testing is still required. Not surprisingly, there was speculation that the Games would be cancelled.
Whether the Games remains on target for a 2021 event remains to be seen, but it’s something the IOC seem to be striving for. As the Sydney Morning Herald reports, according to an opinion poll conducted by Kyodo News in July, in Japan “only one in four said they support holding the Games.” Despite the worldwide satisfaction that comes with viewing athletes at the peak of their performance, when it comes to the coronavirus, many are still apprehensive.