As the IOC stands firm that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be held on July 24, the current COVID-19 situation on the ground shows that to be totally unpractical.
Tokyo and the IOC are fighting so hard for the Olympics to carry on as scheduled but the real-life practicality of the situation is that it will either be postponed or out-right cancelled due to a number of factors.
Worldwide Lock Down And Tavel Ban
Already numerous qualifying events for the Olympics have had to be called off as countries close their borders to the rest of the world to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Europe, USA and many other nations across the world have already banned visitors from entering their borders for at least 30 days.
Most countries have already implemented travel bans, stopping their citizens from unnecessary travel
This means that athletes will not be able to travel to participate in qualification events.
No Large Groups Or Gatherings Allowed
Most countries have already begun implementing banning any large gatherings making it impossible for athletes to meet up in order to participate in any qualification events.
This also means that events that require teams can no longer practice.
Shutting Down Of Facilities
As countries worldwide go into lockdown, facilities that used to cater for the public have been shut down to avoid the further spreading of the coronavirus. Businesses have been urged to allow staff to stay at home to avoid unnecessary risky travel to work, meaning that facilities such as gyms and stadiums have also been closed off.
As a result, athletes are unable to get the necessary training and practise required to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Avoiding Physical Contact
With the ever-looming fear of contracting coronavirus via touch and body fluids, health experts worldwide have advised that people avoid any unnecessary bodily contact or the sharing of equipment.
This means athletes can no longer practise any sports that require physical contact such as wrestling, nor may they share the same equipment, which would include disciplines such as gymnastics.
The IOC and Tokyo are all working on the ‘presumption’ that the COVID-19 outbreak will be contained by 24 July. In fact, in order for the Olympics to be able to be held on that date, the worldwide pandemic would have to have been resolved months in advance to allow athletes adequate time to prepare.
With experts suggesting that cases of the COVID-19 will only increase worldwide in the coming months and with medical experts in countries like the UK suggesting that they will only have the pandemic under control in as much as 18 months, it is highly unlikely that Tokyo 2020 will be able to take place as scheduled.
Certain members within the IOC Committee have already raised their lack of support for the on-going plan to have the games continue as scheduled on 24 July.
Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) President Alejandro Blanco already told Reuters that he would prefer that the games be postponed whilst IOC member Hayley Wickenheiser came out the decision to carry on as scheduled as being”insensitive and irresponsible given the state of humanity”.
Athletes have also come out condemning the IOC’s stance on the not postponing or cancelling the games as being reckless and having no regard of the athletes’ health and current circumstances.
Rio 2016 pole vault gold medal winner Stefanidi went on to condemn the Olympic organisers saying:
“This is not about how things will be in four months. This is about how things are now.”
“The IOC wants us to keep risking our health, our family’s health and public health to train every day? You are putting us in danger right now, today, not in four months.”