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Every four years since 1896, the five ‘rings’ of the sporting world have unified to compete in the most prestigious and well-anticipated competition – the Olympics. This event has only ever been cancelled on three occasions (1916, 1940, 1944) and there are no prizes for associating the years with the reason. However, since the 2020 Olympics were suspended for the first time in its history, this could be the time to accept the inevitability of new precedents. Whether the Olympics should go ahead or not is an incredibly contentious topic – either way it will have major impacts on the biological and sporting industries – ultimately, ending in turmoil (most likely), or ending in triumph.
Of course, the influx of people from all across the world would lead to increases in infection rates and the mixing of different strains of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. This is probably why 80% of Japanese people want the Tokyo Olympics to be, at least, postponed to 2022 – or even cancelled altogether. Considering they are currently living relatively normal lives, and it is their livelihoods at risk, this is perhaps not an unreasonable wish.
Countries like Australia and New Zealand are living life reminiscent of early 2020 – with none of these ‘wash hands, cover face, make space’ slogans or two-metre social distancing – whilst other countries (such as the United Kingdom, the United States and Brazil – to name a few) struggle and continue to be hampered by the pandemic. This could mean that certain countries, depending on the ability of said country to drastically reduce the rate of coronavirus infections, could be forced to stay at home – literally. Imagine an Olympics without characters with the status and stature of Usain Bolt, Mo Farah or Michael Phelps; or, more recently, the likes of Dina Asher-Smith, Simone Biles and Adam Peaty. Personally, I believe it wouldn’t even scratch the surface of a normal Olympics. Moreover, the credibility of the awards could be tarnished, due to winners being faced with people always saying ‘oh but (insert name here) would’ve obviously won if they could’ve been there’.
Allowing the athletes to ‘jump the queue’ and get the COVID-19 vaccine first and banning fans could be the only way that the Olympics could go ahead – whilst also avoiding the possibility of it propelling the severity of the pandemic. However, this would inevitably lead to old and vulnerable people receiving the vaccine after they were originally promised. On a moral compass this points to the direction of ‘ABSOLUTELY MORALLY WRONG’ since a large proportion of these people have spent the last year of their lives shielding away from loved ones and postponing their normal lives.
Whilst it is not feasible for the cogs of the sporting world to come to a complete stop again (and nobody wants such a situation), the commencement of a worldwide competition is a risk not worth taking and could result in further restrictions afterward. Thus, I believe that sport should be able to continue on a smaller, national level with the 2021 Olympics being regrettably postponed before it ends in utter turmoil.