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Corona jeopardises Olympic Games: what to do?

17 Mar 2020 08:35

 by AIPS President Gianni Merlo

The Tokyo Games might theoretically have some faint hopes if the Coronavirus will be conquered all over the world in the next two months. This clearly is a pious illusion. Now that the virus has been declared a global pandemic, it is unlikely that each country will come out quickly and in unison. Athletes started to train alternatively at their homes meanwhile.

The virus will expand more and more like a leopard’s spots and therefore it will be difficult to eradicate, unless a miraculous drug is found tomorrow. So how will the delegations from 205 nations or more enter the Olympic Village in perfect health in July? They will all have to be quarantined first, otherwise the Village could turn into a Red Zone in an instant. But also this possibility looks impossible according to US President Donald Trump’s speech yesterday. When referring to the end of the Coronavirus contagion according to experts Trump said: "We'll see what happens, but they think August, could be July, could be longer than that."

Postpone Olympic Games?

There are of course suggestions to move the Games to October, like the ones that were celebrated in 1964. But how would it be possible to manage the accommodation, bearing in mind that the Japanese capital is already full for many other non-sporting events that month? In addition to the fact that many networks would not accept it. Furthermore, we must also consider that sport in this Northern Hemisphere summer must try to survive with few competitive events. But that would not be enough.

Postponing the Games to 2021 is a nice but unreliable hypothesis because all the international federations are planning their World Championships for the coming year. It is practically impossible that they can blow up the work of those organizing committees. The only solution could be found in the spring, but many sports will be already engaged in large events that must be convinced to move a little bit as they did this year. For example, the top marathons. Football will be in the most delicate position.

The 2022 Hypothesis: It is certainly possible to think of postponing the Games until 2022, given that in that year in winter there are the Winter Games in Beijing and in November the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. In that case it is suggested that the Commonwealth and Asian Games as well as other events be cancelled or moved. This is also a complicated solution because everyone will try to defend their turf.

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