2021 or Nothing: Will Tokyo be Ready for the Olympics?

Timothy Pinzone

The Olympics. The event that stops the world.

Since 2020, it seems like the world may have stopped the Olympics. The Tokyo Olympics was initially scheduled to be held in July 2020, however as a result of COVID-19 the Olympics had to be postponed to July 2021 with questions looming over whether the delayed games will be able to go ahead at all.

Due to increased pressure from various Olympic committees around the world, the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (TOCOG) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on March 24, 2020 that they would reschedule the games to a date “beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021”. On March 30, 2020, the IOC and TOCOG confirmed the Olympics would commence on July 23, 2021. Postponing the games by a year is estimated to cost the Japanese Government an additional US$5.8 billion highlighting the repercussions of delaying the Olympics.

Despite the pandemic, Tokyo’s Olympic organiser, Tostito Muto, expressed that COVID-19 is the reason why the Olympics should go ahead, that “humans can coexist peacefully through sport” despite current global health insecurity. The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has also supported the Olympics going ahead despite rumours of cancellation. But with a delay to the Olympics in 2020 and with a worsening COVID-19 situation in Japan, the world is wondering if our athletes should still compete in 2021.

Key to the Olympics debate is the ability for Tokyo to safely run and host the games. Some strategies to enhance safety have included the establishment of player hubs and the rollout of playbooks which will set the guidelines for athletes and participants during the games to facilitate a COVID-19 safe environment. For many other sports worldwide, player hubs have been organised. These usually involve players and squads staying in one location across the season and being isolated from the outside world. This has been complicated<