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Canada Leads – World Follows

Canada took the lead by saying “No – We’ll not attend” and now we are hearing that the IOC officially announced it’s first-of-its-kind (ever) postponement of the Summer Olympics Games.

The postponement or cancellation was inevitable all due to the on-going a coronavirus pandemic that is putting our everyday life on hold. 

Given the state of on-going uncertainty surrounding this it’s reported that the IOC spokesperson mentioned that “Tokyo Games must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020, but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.”

The announcement has some questioning why, while others welcome the news, but there has to be shock and surprise from Athletes, Sports Organizations as well as the National Olympic Committee. 

Given the years of training that the athletes have gone through, this news has to be heartbreaking for many who might not be able to compete next year.

The harsh reality of their training, qualifying schedules in addition to the International Anti-Doping protocols that had been a reality. 

While some appreciate the year-long postponement Hayley Wickenheiser (Four-time Olympic Hockey Champion) was the first IOC member to officially criticize the body’s reluctance to postpone and called it the “message athletes deserve to hear” – but will they?

She (Hayley) wrote on Twitter “To all the athletes: take a breath, regroup, take care of yourself and your families. Your time will come.”

Thomas Bach, IOC President and Abe Shinzo, Japanese Prime Minister had a discussion via phone earlier on Tuesday morning. 

Bach and Shinzo as well as some IOC Executives as well as Japan’s organizing committee, agreed to make the call.

While this was indeed a tough call for the IOC, let’s not forget that three other Olympics (1916, 1940 and 1944) were cancelled because of war. 

Outside of that, which was traumatic, no other games have (ever) been postponed due to a virus that has accounted for more than 375,000 cases worldwide, with the numbers continuing to grow on a daily basis.

The Tokyo Games will still be called the 2020 Olympics, albeit they are being held the following year, but this was completely out of their control.

The IOC stated “The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope.”

While the decision might offer some relief for the athletes who have their training schedule “on hold” while some might say close to being utterly impossible conditions. 

It’s reported that one of the reasons they (IOC) what seemed to be far too long  was they wanted to sort out the logistics. 

It’s reported that some of the arenas, stadiums and hotels are under contract for a games scheduled to run July 24-August 7, but that should be easy to rectify considering that it’s reported Tokyo has spent $28 billion to host the 2020 games.

This in addition to the International sports schedule that has all 33 sports on the Olympic program have events, which include World Championships in 2021. 

Hayward Field at University of Oregon was rebuilt to the tune of $200 million and slotted to host the 2021 World Championships. 

The question one has to ask is “Could this event also be postponed, cancelled or see its stature greatly diminished if there could be a conflict within months of the rescheduled Olympics.

Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the organizing committee mentioned “A lot can happen in one year, so we have to think about what we have to do and the decision came upon us all of a sudden.”

Say what you will, it’s fair to mention that every sport throughout the world has suspended play all due to the pandemic. 

The worldwide economy is faltering and people are increasingly being told it’s not safe to congregate in large groups or, in some cases, even to leave their houses. Gyms are closed across America. Holding Olympic trials in a matter of months was becoming a virtual impossibility.

Canada’s Olympic Committee officially pulled out, while Australia mentioned they either would not, or could not, send a team to Tokyo in July. 

Swimming, Track and Gymnastics as well as World Athletics, which are the three largest, all called for a postponement of the 2020 games.

Despite the IOC saying they still wanted the games to go on, the decision came shortly after local organizers said the torch relay would start as planned. 

It’s reported that the relay was to start in northeastern Fukushima prefecture – and sort this out as there would be no torch, no torchbearers and no public!!

Due to the cancellation, it’s reported that the Olympic Flame is to be stored and displayed in Fukushima. 

Hard choice – but a wise one!!!!