The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games May Be Cancelled
Just when we thought the coronavirus couldn’t take anything more away from us, it’s now threatening the event we’ve been looking forward to for the past four years.
When speaking to the Associated Press in a recent interview, International Olympic Council member Dick Pound shed doubt on the possibility of the Olympics merely being postponed. When talking about the Games in Tokyo he said,
“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… You’re probably looking at a cancellation.”
Pound went on to say,
“You just don’t postpone something on the size and scale of the Olympics. There’s so many moving parts, so many countries and different seasons, and competitive seasons, and television seasons. You can’t just say, `We’ll do it in October.”
With coronavirus infections on the rise in Japan, there’s serious cause to worry that the situation may not improve by July.
If the situation hasn’t improved, it’s unlikely that the Games will be allowed to go ahead.
Cancelling the Games
If the Olympic Games are cancelled, it won’t be the first time it’s happened for Tokyo. The Tokyo Olympic Games of 1940 were cancelled because of World War 2.
Although there is precedent, cancelling the Olympic Games is no small decision.
The official dollar amount the country of Japan has spent on preparing for the Games is $12.6 billion. The national audit board denies this number though, saying that the country has spent easily twice that amount.
In his interview, Pound referenced the Spanish flu that killed millions of people in the early 20th century.
If you don’t know about the Spanish flu and its effects on the world, research material can be found by watching the second season of Downton Abbey.
Pound said that if this virus were to become as lethal as the Spanish flu, there’d be no question regarding cancelling the Games.
The Opinion From Japan
In spite of the feelings of Pound and the IOC, the Japanese Government doesn’t share the same feeling that the Olympics will be delayed or cancelled.
The minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Seiko Hashimoto was quoted saying to Japan’s House of Representatives that Dick Pound’s comments were “not an official announcement by the IOC.”
According to Hashimoto, the organising committee in Tokyo is working very hard to avoid any changes to the schedule.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga stands by Hashimoto and says that the Games will go ahead as planned.
He says that they’re taking measures to stop the spread of the virus and ensure that the country is safe to host the Games and the visiting members of participating countries.
Companies that plan to sponsor the Games are watching the spread of the virus carefully and may pull their sponsorship if the situation doesn’t improve within the next couple months.
A representative for Bridgestone said,
“We are monitoring the situation. The health of our customers, employees and partnering companies is the biggest priority.”
We won’t have to wait long until we know more about what the IOC plans to do.
Representatives at the IOC have said that they want the virus situation to have improved by May, so if the virus has spread further by then, we’ll know our answer.
All we can do is keep an eye on the situation and hope for the best. If any updates are made public in the coming months, I’ll post about them here on Health Tonic.