Like countless events around the world, the 2020 Olympics have been postponed. This is the first time in history the Olympics have been delayed (although they were canceled three times during both World Wars) since its first games held in 1896.
In the summer of 2020, Japan was supposed to hold the 32nd Olympics in Tokyo. This would have marked the second time Tokyo hosted anOlympic Games. However, due to inflated COVID-19 cases, the Games were postponed to the following summer in 2021. (Although the Olympics are being moved back to this year, they will still be referred to as the 2020 Olympics). Yet, despite this postponement, worries persist regarding further postponement as the COVID-19 vaccine is slow to distribute in Japan. According to South China Morning Post, Japan has only vaccinated 1.2 million people as of Apr. 20th, or 1 percent of its population, meaning it will not achieve herd immunity by the time the Olympic games start on July 23rd.
The Olympics Committee still remains optimistic and has released a list of sports that will be hosted in Japan: road cycling in the foothills of Mount Fuji, surfing held on the coast near Tokyo, and marathon racing which will take place 500 miles north of Tokyo in Sapporo. Soccer matches will take place in six cities, whileaseball and softball will be held in Fukushima and Yokohama.
While organizers promise an Olympics that possesses the same aesthetic and feel of a normal Summer Games, they have stated that foreign spectators will not be allowed to come and watch in person. No decisions have been made on the capacity at Olympic venues or safety protocols for fans.
“[…] we will continue our preparations for ensuring a safe and secure Games in the spirit of ‘Safety will be the number one priority of the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” said the International Olympic Committee on their website.
International fans of the Games will be able to watch all the events through NBC, which will be providing extensive coverage of the Olympics across several channels, including NBC, NBC Sports Network, CNBC, and USA Network. Viewers can also stream the broadcasted events on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app. The 13-hour time difference between Tokyo and the United States’ Eastern time zone means several events will be broadcast on tape delay, aside from the opening ceremony, which takes place at 8 p.m. in Tokyo and 7 a.m. EDT for parts of the US.
Aside from the COVID-19 complications, other controversies are causing trouble for this time-honored event. Most notably, Russian participation in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. They will not be formally competing after they were banned from the 2016 Olympics after allegations that they were encouraging their athletes to abuse performance-enhancement drugs. However, many Russian athletes will be competing under the name Russian Olympic Committee, or ROC for short. There have also been concerns about the Japanese summer heat that the athletes and spectators will inevitably face. Many Olympic historians predict this will be the hottest Summer Games ever, reaching forecasted temperatures of nearly 90 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity levels topping 55 percent.
There will be new additions to the sports featured during the 2020 Olympics as well, including skateboarding, surfboarding, competitive rock climbing, karate, and softball. Baseball will also be making a comeback, after its elimination from the 2012 Olympic lineup.
At the end of each competition, the winning athletes will receive medals made from recycled cell phones and other electronics, an initiative started in Tokyo in Feb. of 2017. The Vancouver Games similarly awarded their winning athletes with recycled medals in 2010. The official emblem of the Tokyo Games is described as the “Harmonized Checkered Emblem,” created by Japanese artist Asao Tokolo.
Although this will be the first Olympics Games ever to be postponed, athletes, fans, and games organizers are still enthusiastic to participate and spectate the much-awaited competition. The next four Olympic host sites have also been announced, including Beijing’s 2022 Winter Olympics, the 2024 Summer Games in France’s capital of Paris, the 2026 Winter Games in Milan in Italy, and finally, the 2028 Summer Games will return to Los Angeles.