While I love to watch the Olympics, as it is the biggest international multi sport event, keeping in mind the health situation in Japan amid the coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 Olympic Games should be cancelled.
The quadrennial Games were earlier scheduled to be held in Tokyo, Japan in 2020 but due to the spread of the pandemic, both the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo Organising Committee (TOCOG) in consideration with each other took the brave decision to postpone the world event to 2021. Originally, the Olympics were to held from July 24 to August 9, 2020 but this was rescheduled to July 23-August 8, 2021.
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Though it is very unlikely for the Games to be cancelled at this point since the IOC is adamant about hosting the biggest global event in Tokyo this year, the upcoming edition of the Olympics should be cancelled. It doesn’t make any sense to again postpone the games to 2022 as the next edition is already scheduled for 2024 in Paris. For 2024 Olympics, the qualification process will mostly start from mid-2022 or early 2023, so it will be illogical to postpone the Tokyo Olympics to 2022 and start the qualification process for the Paris Olympics from 2023 as it will be very tiresome and gruesome to all those participating in the games.
While the Olympics will for sure bring lot of happiness to a lot of people all over the world if its held as per schedule, in the current scenario of new variants coming up and the virus evolving into being more infectious, the health of Japanese people and Games participants cannot be taken for granted.
Japan has already banned the entry of international spectators for the Olympics and is already under the state of health emergency which has been extended by the Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga until June 20 to control the number of new cases. While these new cases have slowed down, Japan has seen a spurt in the number of people requiring critical care for COVID-19 in recent days. If the Games are allowed, there could be a breakdown in Japan’s health infrastructure which will be very bad. In a recent poll, a majority of Japanese citizens also called for the Olympics to be cancelled.
Definitely, there will be a huge monetary loss for Japan if the Games are cancelled. But if any new strain develops while the competition is on, it will be very difficult to stop it from travelling across the world and then ravaging the health of all around the world. The insurance sector will take a huge hit as the Olympics have been insured for a total of around US$ 2-3 billion, and repaying it will be very hard for the insurers. But the health of people is more important the world over.
Here’s hoping that the IOC will take a rational decision keeping in mind the health of the people and cancel the Olympics.