The ice gets ever thinner beneath Tokyo 2020. Withe the coronavirus pandemic showing no signs of slowing, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has finally raised the possibility of delaying the Games, claiming in a statement that it is “confident that it will have finalised these discussions within the next four weeks.”
Tokyo 2020 released its own supporting statement, asserting that “[c]ancellation of the Tokyo 2020 Games is not on the agenda.” They are currently slated to open on July 24th, though all of its remaining boxing qualifiers are currently suspended.
Some of its participants, however, have made clear that they’ve no intention to compete unless the Games are pushed back to at least next year. Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic Committees released a joint statement saying as much, particularly citing the risks for their Paralympians. Australia’s Olympic Committee, meanwhile, “unanimously agreed that an Australian team could not be assembled in the changing circumstances at home and abroad.”
The AOC raises an excellent point; it’s not just about whether the pandemic will have receded sufficiently by July 24th. It’s also about how well athletes can prepare. Trying to get into fighting shape with mass gym closures, public gathering bans, and the sheer mental and physical toll this sort of disaster inflicts is more than one can reasonably ask.
From where I’m sitting, Tokyo 2021 sounds better.