Canada does not want to send athletes to Japan for the Olympic Games because of the corona pandemic. Now the IOC is also thinking about postponing the event. Three scenarios are possible.
Canada does not want to send athletes to the Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games in Tokyo because of the Corona pandemic if they take place from July 24th to August 9th, as previously planned. “Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the global community,” the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee said in a joint statement.
Premier Abe: Postponement possible
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke for the first time of a postponement of the summer games in his country. In front of the parliament, he said that this must be expected. However, there could be no question of a cancellation. “It is difficult to hold games under these circumstances, we have to decide on a postponement, with the health of the athletes a top priority,” said Prime Minister Abe. The final decision lies with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Criticism from politicians and athletes
Criticism of the IOC also comes from Germany. The athletes’ spokesman for the World Athletics Association and javelin Olympic champion Thomas Röhler spoke out in favor of postponing the Olympic Games by one year. “We athletes – internationally I can speak for athletics – are of the opinion that 2021 currently offers maximum security,” said the 28-year-old in ARD morning magazine.
The chairman of the Bundestag Sports Exchange Committee, Dagmar Freitag, criticized the four-week period set by the IOC until a decision was made on a possible transfer. This delaying tactic produces “a massive loss of trust” and shows “a blatant leadership failure,” she said in the MR. “The athletes run away from Mr. Bach. The Olympia product is at stake.” The Polish Olympic Committee also advocated a postponement of the games.
IOC under pressure
The statements and decisions increase the pressure on the IOC. The association announced on Sunday that it would decide whether to postpone the games within four weeks. However, IOC President Thomas Bach ruled out a complete cancellation of the major event in a letter to the athletes. Now three scenarios are possible.
Scenario 1: The Olympic Games will be postponed to autumn. That would be the best variant of the climatic conditions anyway, since there had already been great criticism of the summer date because of the great heat in Tokyo. But whether the Corona crisis has actually improved a few months after the current date (July 24 to August 9) seems questionable. Also, the wealthy TV channels from the United States are unlikely to agree, since the major American leagues are back in the game at this time.
Scenario 2: Similar to the European Football Championship, the event will be postponed by exactly one year, i.e. in summer. This variant gives the IOC and the organizers all the time, the virus should be contained by then. However, the sports calendar would have to be heavily adjusted. For example, the World Championships for Swimmers in Fukuoka (Japan) and Athletics in Eugene (USA) are scheduled for summer 2021.
Scenario 3: Olympia is postponed to 2022. The advantage of the appointment would be that there would be enough time to adjust the sports calendar. However, they would then take place in the same year as the Olympic Winter Games, and both events in one year would probably be difficult for the IOC to handle – even if the Summer and Winter Games always took place in the same year until 1992. In addition, the World Cup in Qatar is scheduled for the end of 2022.
An Olympic postponement would be a historically unique decision. On the other hand, there have been a number of cancellations in the past. During the First World War the summer games 1916 (Berlin), in the Second World War the summer games 1940 (Tokyo) and 1944 (London) as well as the winter games 1940 (Cortina d’Ampezzo) and 1944 (Sapporo) were canceled.