The Tokyo 2020 Olympics Could Be The Latest Victim Of The Coronavirus
When news first broke about the coronavirus outbreak, the immediate response from most was one of confusion and inaction. As of Monday however, the world has now awoken to grave fears the prolific spread of the virus could make it a global pandemic, with no signs of slowing down thus far. As of Monday, there have been more than 77,000 cases of the coronavirus and more than 2,600 deaths. Despite originating in Wuhan, China, cases have been confirmed in the US, Europe, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Africa, and Japan, where four deaths have been reported.
And with the rapid spread of the virus, stores around the world have been forced to shut down, while international festivals, music acts, and various other performances and tours have also been cancelled in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus. But it’s 2020 and for many that means only one thing: the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games.
With the Olympics now just five months away, concerns that the coronavirus might threaten the international sporting event are mounting.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Dick Pound, the longest-serving member of the International Olympic Committee said a decision could be put off until late May. As the publication was quick to note however, it seems the most plausible outcome will be cancellation, with Pound noting that should the Olympics be affected, it would more likely be cancelled than postponed or moved elsewhere.
“You just don’t postpone something on the size and scale of the Olympics,” said Pound to the Associated Press. “There’s so many moving parts, so many countries and different seasons, and competitive seasons, and television season. You can’t just say, ‘We’ll do it in October.’”
There is a big risk when it comes to the Olympics. The games alone draw 11,000 athletes representing more than 200 countries. Pound said about the prospect of cancellation, “I’d say folks are going to have to ask: ‘Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo or not?’”.
Pound also went on to add that as the Games draw near, “a lot of things have to start happening. You’ve got to start ramping up your security, your food, the Olympic Village, the hotels. The media folks will be in there building their studios.”
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are scheduled on open on July 24 and while pressure is mounting for a decision to be made, Pound encouraged athletes to keep training, saying simply: “As far as we all know, you’re going to be in Tokyo.”