Olympics Set to be Held Regardless of COVID Conditions: Is This a Good Idea??


A picture of the olympics symbol taken by Bryan Turner on Unsplash.com.

Samir Tusneem, Staff Writer

The Olympics is an event that brings unity to every country in the world regardless of the political relations between one another. With the Olympics being a tradition carried on since its origination in Greece, the COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily postponed the coveted event. The Olympics were originally supposed to take place from July 24, 2020, until August 9, 2020, but the pandemic created the necessity to push it back until it settled down. However, Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori stated that regardless of the pandemic situation, the Olympics would be taking place in the summer of 2021. 

This controversial statement made by the Tokyo 2020 President caused great disapproval. Some people were not hesitant to say that holding the event without considering the state of the pandemic would result in substantial consequences, while others believe that there is no choice but to let the games go on. 

“Imagine all those  who work four years for one shot and all of a sudden that opportunity gets lost. They are the people that I feel such pain for – but we have to do it based on science.” ”

— President Biden

After conducting a survey on Instagram, 31% of Green Hope students who answered believed that holding the Olympics regardless of the conditions of COVID is a good idea, while 69% thought that doing so is not a valid approach. For those who were in favor, most believed that the Olympics are an integral part of our global culture and that as long as the athletes are vaccinated and isolated, it shouldn’t be a problem. However, those who disapproved of the plan believed that holding the Olympics would only accelerate COVID cases and introduce new strains and that the virus needs to be taken more seriously even if it means postponing a highly coveted event.

Joe Biden, the President of the United States, showed empathy for the athletes but also a sense of concern for the decision when he stated, “Imagine all those Olympians who work for four years, four years for one shot and all of a sudden that opportunity gets lost. They are the people that I feel such pain for – but we have to do it based on science.” 

The future of the Olympics is actually somewhat dependent on Biden’s decision. With his significant level of leadership, he has the authority to influence a motion to postpone the games even longer. Likewise, if he were to express approval for proceeding with the current plan to host the games in the summer, then the committee would gain strong momentum. However, Tokyo 2020 President Mori is still showing reluctance to push back the games any further.

“We will hold the Olympics, regardless of how the coronavirus looks,” Mori stated, emphasizing the question of “how” the Olympics will be hosted rather than whether or not they will actually happen. “We must consider new ways of hosting the Olympics,” he added. 

There is no doubt that Japan is straying away from holding the Olympics without spectators, especially considering the major financial burden it would create. According to Katsuhiro Myamoto, a professor at Kansai University, holding the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics without spectators would result in a net loss of ¥2.4 trillion, which is roughly $22.85billion. With that, we can expect maximum efforts from the committee to create some way for people to watch the games in-person.

With the games being set to be held from July 23 to August 8, what will the event actually look like? With an expected number of roughly 11,000 athletes set to attend the Tokyo Olympics, there would certainly need to be precautions set in order to ensure that the attendees remain safe. IOC President Thomas Bach is also confident that there will be fans at the Olympics, yet there hasn’t been a set capacity on how many people can actually attend. Regardless, there are many questions that would need to be answered, especially since precedent events, such as the opening ceremony, involve fairly close contact.