Tokyo’s “One Moment in Time” Delayed for a Later Moment
Picture yourself after working out in the pool, sprinting on the track or sparring on the mat. You’ve trained, “rubbed your hide for every gain.” You have your sights set on your golden Olympic dream.
Then, your tweets or emails bring the news you’d been suspecting since the COVID-19 coronavirus became a worldwide pandemic. Your trips to training facilities, participation in team practices, and any face-to-face contact with teammates grinds to a sudden halt. You are encouraged to self-isolate and wait for answers beyond your control.
Sure, you can do push-ups and other calisthenics, maybe run some distance each day, or keep fit by shooting hoops on a half-sized court. Your body’s rhythms will change, your indomitable drive will slacken.
No wonder the Canadian national team announced they’d not send their athletes to Tokyo for this year’s 2020 Olympic Summer Games. Along with the Australian team, U.S. swimmers, gymnasts, and track and field athletes have petitioned for the competition to be postponed by a year. No matter what happens to stop the spread of COVID-19, returning to top shape will take several months.
The agreement reached during Tuesday morning’s conference call between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach will certainly reignite competitor hopefuls’ flames. The Olympic Games will take place no later than summer of 2021. “It is what athletes want and we believe this decision will give all athletes, technical officials, and volunteers some respite and certainty in these unprecedented and uncertain times,” World Athletics said in a statement reported by that morning’s Los Angeles Times.
Olympic planning committees will have much to consider. Fans will have to rebook hotel rooms, Tickets to the numerous athletic venues will have to be refunded or reissued. The World Track and Field Championships scheduled for next year in Eugene, Oregon, will need to be moved or canceled. Will athletes who’ve secured their Olympic slots have to requalify?
As an Olympaholic, I haven’t missed viewing many days of the competition since the 1976 summer games, so the news of the postponement came as a relief to me. I want to watch athletes at their best whether they compete for the good ol’ U.S.A. or anyone else. Since they’re striving for that “one moment in time,” each participant will be all the more fit and prepared when standing on the brink of history.