If you go on the website for the Tokyo Olympics you will see lot os f good news about the cute mascots doing their world tour. new sponsorship deals, and lots of excitement about the coming event. Rarely does it mention that hug behemoth, the Wooly Mammoth in the room that is coronavirus.
Sporting events getting cancelled is not a new, or usual thing. The Chinese Grand Prix seemed impossible to see happening almost at the outset, whilst smaller competitions, the odd football and rugby game getting canned seemed small fry, but the Olympics? The actual Olympics? No one wants to talk about it, but as things progress the inevitability becomes every closer.
Amazingly there have only ever been 3 cancelled Olympic Games, 1916, 1940, and 1944, kind of expectedly as the World was at war. Even when strategy struck in Munich 72, the games continued and prevailed.
In 1980, Moscow, and the 1984 in LA, there was huge controversy culminating in boycotts, and rival games, but the Olympics went ahead regardless, proudly above the specter of politics, something core to the beliefs of the Olympic Games.
Yet this is not politics, coronavirus has no political alliance, this is not even a World War, at least in the conventional sense. Dick Pound of the International Olympic has described coronavirus as the “new war scenario”, a scenario that no one under the age of 80 would have lived through, and Olympic Games being cancelled.
It is important to note though that the games have not only not been cancelled, but according to Japanese authorities will go ahead, which in itself whilst sounding defiant, at best could mean some kind of “rump Olympics”. It is near impossible to predict what these might look like, but the thought of much fewer nations, doing much fewer events in front of near empty stadiums does exactly spark excitement.
Sadly though this is a choice that authorities might soon have to make, an Olympics for the sake of an Olympics, or for Japan cancelling the first Olympics since Emperor Hirohito was allies with Fuhrer Hitler.
And now, the waiting game.