Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began shutting down all of sports, the scheduled 2020 Olympics in Tokyo were postponed until 2021, as some countries were already beginning to say they wouldn’t participate, and the logistics of qualifying — which boxing, for example, had not come close to finalizing — and getting everyone to Tokyo this summer figured to be a nightmare.
It was clearly the right move. While sports are beginning to open up just a bit behind closed doors, travel restrictions and a million other things mean that Tokyo 2020 simply could not happen.
And if the Games don’t go on next summer, they won’t go on at all. If Tokyo doesn’t happen in 2021, these Olympics will simply be canceled, and everyone will look to get ready for Paris 2024. The Olympics are simply too large an undertaking to keep hoping and postponing, as IOC President Thomas Bach explained in an interview with BBC Sport.
Bach said that when he spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to postpone until 2021, Abe was quite adamant that the Games had to happen next year.
“He made it very clear from the beginning that summer ‘21 is the last option,” Bach said. “Quite frankly I have some understanding of this, because you cannot forever employ 3,000 or 5,000 in an organizing committee.
“You cannot every year change the entire sports schedule worldwide of the major federations. You cannot have the athletes being in uncertainty. You cannot have so much overlapping with the future Olympic Games. So I have some understanding for this approach.”
Everything is entirely still up in the air with Tokyo 2021, and will be for some time still. You feel for the athletes in all sports, and it wouldn’t be a big surprise if we see some in boxing decide to go pro instead of playing the wait-and-see game, though top American prospect Keyshawn Davis has, as of now, decided to stay in the mix for the Olympics next year. A lot of that, too, will depend on how the pro game actually starts moving along (or not) in the interim.