Will COVID-19 Change the Olympic Games for 2021?

Mallory Meyer, Reporter

In the middle of this global pandemic, it’s hard to believe that the Summer Olympics will be taking place in Tokyo 2021. Originally, they were scheduled to be held this past summer of 2020, but were postponed due to COVID-19. 

Since the first Olympic Games in 1896, the worldwide competition has only been cancelled three times, all due to World Wars. 

If the Olympics are allowed to open next summer, there will be a lot of modifications in place to insure the safety of all participants and spectators. The International Olympic Committee and Japanese Government are currently working on these guidelines. 

Some of the procedures being discussed are testing protocols for the athletes, requiring athletes to sign a pledge to stay within the perimeters of the Olympic Village, and limiting the amount of spectators. 

“COVID is going to make it harder for everyone in the games because there’s a lot more rules to be followed and other things to be careful of,” sophomore John Harris said. 

Even with all of the restrictions that will be enforced, the majority of the citizens in Japan still aren’t comfortable with the opening of the Games. 

“If we all manage to keep the numbers from plummeting it could be safe to open,” sophomore Sydnie Fuchs said. 

In a recent survey in Tokyo, only 23.9% of people in Japan were in support of holding the Olympics in the upcoming year. 

“2021 Olympics are not until next summer. We have enough time to help the cases go down,” said Fuchs. 

If numbers are not low enough by the summer, they could be postponed again. 

“By only broadcasting the games on TV and having everyone watching from home could help make the Olympics happen in the next year,” sophomore Jonah Jones said. 

In addition to the reopening of the Games, it has been announced there will be five new sports added this summer. They include baseball, softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing. 

“I’d be interested in watching skateboarding and surfing because you don’t usually see these types of sports competing at a high level very often,” said Harris. 

With cases of COVID-19 currently spiking throughout Japan and other countries, only time will tell if the Olympics will actually take place next year. If the Games do not end up happening in the summer, this will be the first time in history the Olympics would be postponed for the second time in a row.