The 2020 games are still on, but should they be? And what will they look like?
In 2020, tradition was broken. The Olympic Games were skipped for the first time in almost 80 years. Well, maybe not totally skipped. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were postponed to Summer 2021, and as the event approaches, things are still seeming a bit unstable. With the COVID-19 pandemic still very much present in the world, not everyone is totally on board with transporting tens of thousands of athletes across the globe.
Despite widespread concern and protest, the International Olympics Committee, or IOC, is still planning for the games to occur. With time to cancel and rising hesitation, Japan announced a third state of emergency on April 25th. However, as of mid-May, John Coates, the Vice President of the IOC, shared that the games were still on. Not only do many people, both residents of Japan and others, want the games cancelled for safety reasons, Japan has low rates of the COVID vaccination, making it risky to hold the games there.
If the Olympic Games do proceed this summer, they will certainly look quite different than we are used to. Scheduled to begin July 23rd, all athletes will be required to quarantine for three days in Tokyo upon arrival and test negative each day of the isolation period. Prior to traveling, athletes will need two negative COVID tests. Without a positive test, athletes will enter the “Olympics bubble” and will be tested daily.
Unlike usual years, athletes are prohibited from using public transportation or visiting non-Olympic sites, such as tourist locations, restaurants, and shops. Furthermore, athletes and coaches will no longer be allowed to stay in the Olympic Village for the entirety of the games– they have to depart after their participation is finished. Despite daily testing, the current guidelines state that athletes must wear masks except when competing, training, eating, or sleeping if proper social distancing cannot be maintained. In March, it was announced that international spectators will not be allowed to attend the games, and a further decision about those local to Tokyo will be made in June.
While the 2020 games (yes– they are still called the 2020 games) will certainly look a little different behind the scenes, they will be just as good as in the past. Things have been hard for people across the world over the past year with the pandemic, but the Olympic Games are sure to cheer everyone up a bit.