Image Courtesy of NBC
By Chris Carey
Cue John Williams’ Olympic Fanfare, because all signs point to the commencement of 2020’s postponed Olympic games on July 23, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. After significant deliberation, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has decided that taking proper precautions for athlete safety and limiting fan presence, the Olympics will go on as planned.
In late March, the IOC announced that due to public health and safety concerns associated with COVID-19, the 2020 Summer Olympics would be postponed to the summer of 2021 at the latest. Now, from July 23 until August 8, 2021, the Olympic games will proceed as planned, according to the IOC and Japanese officials.
The events are still technically the 2020 Summer Olympics although they will take place in 2021. These Olympics will see a wide array of disciplines with over 48 different events including the addition of Baseball/Softball, as well as a 3×3 Basketball event. Additionally, Surfing will be introduced at these games along with Sport Climbing and Skateboarding, all of which show a trend towards newer and more mainstream X-Games-esque sports at the prestigious Olympic Games.
Aside from the innovations in the games themselves, there will also be significant changes in how the event is hosted with the pandemic in mind. On February 2, the first of a number of so-called Playbooks was released with specific information regarding how Tokyo will handle COVID-19, as well as expectations for individuals participating in the Games.
This initial playbook is geared towards International Federations and Technical Officials, who will organize and coordinate the teams from each participating nation. Ensuing playbooks will address athletes, teams, and other interested parties.
Similarly, there will be stringent guidelines regarding fan attendance, as established by officials in November of 2020. “We would like to be considerate of the spectators as much as possible while we take preventive measures at the same time to be able to accommodate as many spectators as possible,” said Toshiro Muto, CEO of the Olympic Organizing Committee.
In the nearly 125 year history of the modern Olympics, only World Wars I and II have given the IOC cause to cancel the games. As the Los Angeles Times reports, this is the first time they have been postponed since the modern Olympics began in 1896.
In a time where possibly more weight than ever is placed on events to take one’s mind off of reality, the Olympic Games present a fantastic opportunity for the world to come together in solidarity and experience a collective display of national and individual resilience and pride like no other.
Although there is still much to determine and much time before the late July launch of these Olympic Games, excitement and anticipation abound across the United States and the world at the prospect of engaging on an international stage and competing.
Much like the Greeks of ancient times, these Olympic Games represent a chance to put aside partisan divides, existential struggles, and petty differences to truly meet one another not only on the pitch or the field or the course, but to meet one another as fellow members of the human race.