Future of Tokyo 2020 Uncertain

The Summer Olympics are the renowned, anticipated jewel of a season. Coming every four years, cream of the crop athletes from around the globe compete in series of events in their respective sports, providing weeks of nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat television. Going beyond the surface level threshold of it being all about sports, the Olympics promote a sense of global unity, and seek to inspire determination and high work ethic in it’s millions of impressionable viewers. However this year, the planned Tokyo 2020 is at jeopardy of being postponed as fears of a coronavirus pandemic continue to rise.


Seiko Hashimoto, Japan’s Olympic Minister, said that it is not required that the Olympics occur in their allotted July position, but rather they just have to take place any time in 2020. “The IOC has the right to cancel the Games only if they are not held during 2020,” Hashimoto said when addressing the upper house of parliament. “This can be interpreted to mean the games can be postponed as long as they are held during the calendar year.” She went on to add that canceling the games in the face of a worsening coronavirus spread is the worst case scenario, saying “We are making the utmost effort so we don’t have to face that situation.” 


So far, however, this is just speculation. The International Olympic Committee, or IOC, has not gone back on their decision to hold the Tokyo Olympics in July. With that said, they mentioned in a published statement that they are closely following the recommendations made by WHO (World Health Organization). “The IOC will continue to follow the advice of WHO, as the leading United Nations agency on this topic,” the Committee said on their website. “The IOC EB expressed its thanks to WHO for its continued valuable advice and cooperation.” 


This comes at a time where public panic has proven itself to be as widespread as the disease itself. In addition to the irrational scramble for surgical masks, stocks have been plummeting, hand sanitizers have become hard to find commodities just as frantic pessimists have stocked up on necessities incase of an inhospitable environment. Even the movie industry has been affected as just this week it was announced that the newest James Bond movie ‘No Time to Die’ was to be pushed back to a later release date as a result of coronavirus fears. 


While the future of Tokyo 2020 is hazy, as is the outcome of how far the coronavirus will spread, there are certain reliable measures that each person can take. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) post on their websites that “Individuals can practice everyday prevention measures like frequent hand washing, staying home when sick, and covering coughs and sneezes.” Equally important, don’t panic. While taking precautions is in no way a bad thing, it’s just as crucial not to give into irrationality. Instead try reaching a middle ground, where it is both okay to wash your hands a few seconds longer than usual while also allowing yourself to go outside without feeling overwhelming panic.