2020 Tokyolympic Delay

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games Have Been Postponed

As of Tuesday, March 24th, 2020, the unprecedented yet unavoidable choice was made by the International Olympic Committee and Prime Minister of Japan to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reports the Olympics. The website states that the event must be rescheduled for a date beyond 2020, but no later than summer 2021. The opening ceremony of the Games was scheduled for July 24th, 2020.

This was a weighty decision. The Summer Olympic Games form the world’s largest sporting event. It’s a multibillion-dollar affair that brings thousands of athletes from hundreds of countries to compete in dozens of sports. Hundreds of thousands of fans attend for spectating and big international branding brings in boatloads of money.

“The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present,” ABC News states. “Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”

With the unusual delay, no clear date has been selected for the event taking place in 2021. The Olympics have only been canceled in the past due to wars in 1916, 1940, and 1944, but they have never been postponed before.

Prior to the postponement, the most recent cost estimate was given in December 2019, when the Tokyo Olympic organizers increased their figures to $12.6 billion. According to Forbes, the postponement is expected to add $2.7 billion to the cost of the Games for the host country. This would bring the total estimated cost to $15.3 billion, which is about three times as expensive as the average Summer Games. This would also make the 2020 Summer Tokyo Olympics the second most expensive Olympic event to date. The most costly year was Sochi’s 2014 Winter Olympics at $21.9 billion. When Tokyo was first granted the Olympics in 2013, the bid committee projected that the total cost would be $7.3 billion.

Tickets for the Games this year were in high demand in Japan and around the world. Over five million of them had been sold. The status of possible refunding is not confirmed at the moment. Toshiro Muto, the chief executive of the organizing committee in Tokyo, remarked that the organizers would “make sure not to inconvenience people as much as possible.” But, he confessed, they weren’t yet sure how it would all play out, according to the New York Times.

Recently, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch design was revealed on the Olympic website. The torch is designed to resemble a cherry blossom, Japan’s most familiar and best-loved flower. The body of the torch holds five cylinders that represent petals of the blossom. The flames generated from each “petal” unite in the center for greater light. The torch incorporates various elements of Japanese culture and captures Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Torch Relay concept: “Hope lights our way”. The concept is designed to bring people together with acceptance and promote peace.

Set to make a featured appearance at this year’s Olympics was Dragon Ball’s Son Goku. This notable Japanese character was chosen as the Tokyo Olympics’ official ambassador. Alongside Goku, the committee chose other famous Japanese pop culture characters such as Sailor Moon, Naruto, Shin-Cha, Astro Boy, and Captain Monkey D. Luffy to lead the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

With the delay, many athletes are perplexed yet relieved. For others, the postponement could affect their ability to participate. The NBA will possibly have to look at roster changes for next year’s event. Now, athletes must keep training and hope that their performance skills peak next summer instead of this year. “This Olympics was going to be the most important Olympics of my career because of everything that’s happened in my past,” stated American swimmer, Ryan Lochte, 

‘But this whole thing is way bigger than me. It’s way bigger than the Olympians. It’s affecting the entire world right now. Our main thing is staying safe and healthy.”

With over 530,000 confirmed cases worldwide, the Coronavirus pandemic is bringing the world to a halt. Nonetheless, we all wait in hope for the day that we can resume life as we knew it.