Olympics postponed to 2021 but what next?

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 25, 2020, 05.08 PM(IST)

Passersby holding sunshades walk past Olympic rings displayed at Nihonbashi district in Tokyo, Japan Photograph:( Reuters )

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As the magnitude of the decision settles down surrounding Tokyo Olympics, new questions are bound to emerge. Is the IOC willing to risk the 2021 Games clashing with marquee sporting events such as the tennis grand slams, the golf majors and even major footballing events?

Relief and finally a sense of closure as athletes around the world are no longer going to have to risk the health and safety of their families to pursue their Olympic dreams.

The postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to an unspecified date next year had been widely expected, in the end, both japan and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had to bow down to unprecedented rebellion from the sporting community.

“We felt under pressure to train, we felt under pressure to compete because obviously the Olympics is a few months away and we need to obviously kind of train ourselves and not de-train and some athletes would go into those facilities and put other people at risk,” Adam peaty, 2016 Olympic champion, swimming, said.

"It's a bummer, it's a bummer that I won't be able to compete in the Olympics this year, but you have to understand the situation, understand that some things are a little bigger than sport, and I guess we'll have it next year,” Pole Vault world record holder, Mondo Duplantis said.

ALSO READ: Postponed Tokyo Olympics will need 'sacrifices and compromises' from all stakeholders: IOC president Thomas Bach

The global sporting calendar has been virtually decimated by the coronavirus pandemic since the start of February.

A decision to postpone the Olympic games is never easy, Tokyo will go down in history as the first games to have been postponed in peacetime…

There are millions of hotel rooms and thousands of flights that have been booked by athletes, officials, sponsors and fans and the media...

Japan has spent more than 12.5 billion dollars on the games till now and it is bound to rise exponentially now. There are thousands of critical games staff who have been employed in Tokyo and face an uncertain future. Pushing back the games was easy, what follows afterwards is a logistical nightmare

The Olympic flame, which arrived in Japan a couple of days ago, will stay in Japan until the games will finally begin. And we also agreed that the name will be kept as 'Olympic Games Tokyo 2020', again to show our commitment and the highly symbolic meaning of these Olympic Games who then hopefully can and will be, in the end, a celebration of humankind having overcome this unprecedented challenge of the coronavirus," IOC president Thomas Cach had said.

ALSO READ: COVID-19 hits Olympics: What could 2020 Tokyo Games postponement cost Japan?

As the magnitude of the decision settles down, new questions are bound to emerge. Will the existing qualification criteria for the games remain in place?

Qualification for the games began in 2018 in some sports and more than 58% of the field had already qualified. Is it fair for those athletes to hold on to those spots for 3 years?

Is the IOC willing to risk the 2021 Games clashing with marquee sporting events such as the tennis grand slams, the golf majors and even major footballing events?

Will the top professional sporting stars of golf, football and tennis turn up for the games?

Can legends like Roger Federer, Alysson Felix, Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce, MC Mary Kom and others extend their careers by a year?

"As someone who had experienced the boycott of the Moscow Olympics, even if it the unexpected happens don't crumble, don't give up, motivate yourself once more, stay young at heart. I hope they will take on the challenge next year," Yasuhiro Yamashita, Japan Olympics Committee president had urged the athletes.

The Olympics are the stage where legends are forged and sporting immortality is achieved. When the Games are held next year, the world will have new Olympic champions.

But they will also be remembered as a celebration of humanity, a coming together of the world after a period of immense tragedy.