Olympic postponement proves disappointing yet necessary

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    Since their modern inception in 1896, when a young French Nobleman named Pierre de Coubertin had the idea to revive the ancient Greek Olympics internationally, the summer Olympics have been held quadrennially. Every four years for the past 124 years, with the exception of global war, there has been some form of a summer Olympics.

   The Olympics represent kinsmanship, solidarity, diplomacy, and compromise. More than being a contest of physical strength, they bring nations together. Throughout their entire existence, the Olympics have been a platform for not only athleticism, but also, advocacy and change.

   In the 1968 Olympics, two African Americans athletes used their winning pedestal to protest racist policies in the U.S. In Montreal, in 1976, 33 African nations boycotted the games in protest of apartheid. Even the U.S. themselves, has used the Summer Olympics as a method of political dissent. In 1980, the U.S. decided to boycott the games in opposition to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. It is commonplace for nations, or even groups of nations, to decide not to send athletes to the summer games; however, for the entire games to be postponed is unheard of.

   On March 24, 2020, Japan Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, and the president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, publicly agreed to postpone the Tokyo Olympics by about a year as a result of the global CoVid-19 pandemic. Six days later, new dates for the games were announced. The Opening Ceremony is now set to take place on July 23, 2021 and the closing on August 8, 2021. The Paralympic games will be held August 24 through September 5.

   The postponement of the games is heartbreaking news for athletes that have been training for years in preparation, but many understand that the decision was made for the greater good. Some have even taken to social media to show their support of the decision and their continued dedication to their sport. 

   “It’s heartbreaking news… but it’s for all the right reasons and for the safety of everyone,” Katerina Johnson-Thompson, 2019 world heptathlon champion, said on Twitter.

   “Just one more year to get better,” says double Olympic gold medallist in swimming, Lilly King on Instagram.

   “Waiting one more year to reach our dreams is well worth the sacrifice to help keep people safe,” two-time diving gold medallist Tom Daley said in an Instagram post.

    Beyond the emotional consequences of the games’ delay, the postponement is said to come with enormous financial consequences as well. Reports from the media in Japan estimate the extra costs of the delay to fall anywhere between $2 billion and $6 billion. The coverage of these costs is still causing conflict among members of the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese Prime Minister. The extra expenses are meant to fall on Japan’s shoulders, but since the economic downturn caused by the virus’ spread in Japan, the topic has caused some disagreement from Japanese officials.