I Ain't One to Gossip, But Word On the Street Is That COVID-19 Concerns Could Derail the Summer Olympics–Again

Illustration for article titled I Ain't One to Gossip, But Word On the Street Is That COVID-19 Concerns Could Derail the Summer Olympics–Again
Photo: Carl Court (Getty Images)

How was your 2020?

Terrible? Really? So was mine!

Not only did I spend almost the entire year playing hide and go seek with a deadly RNA virus, but the only social gatherings anyone could attend were at the grocery store—allegedly.


As such, sports were one of the countless industries that took a major hit. And while the NBA and NFL learned to adapt, the 2020 Summer Olympics suffered the far crueler fate of postponement.

As we reported last summer at The Root, the Olympic games were pushed back and rescheduled for July 23-August 8 of this year. The International Olympic Committee explained its rationale behind doing so with the following statement:

“The new dates, exactly one year after those originally planned for 2020 also have the added benefit that any disruption that the postponement will cause to the international sports calendar can be kept to a minimum. Additionally, they will provide sufficient time to finish the qualification process. The same heat mitigation measures as planned for 2020 will be implemented.”

Fast forward to 2021: now ten months into this hellscape, Rona is still very much a bitch. And as The Times reports, it appears that is history is destined to repeat itself once more:

The Japanese government has privately concluded that the Tokyo Olympics will have to be canceled because of the coronavirus, and the focus is now on securing the Games for the city in the next available year, 2032.

According to a senior member of the ruling coalition, there is agreement that the Games, already postponed a year, are doomed. The aim now is to find a face-saving way of announcing the cancellation that leaves open the possibility of Tokyo playing host at a later date. “No one wants to be the first to say so but the consensus is that it’s too difficult,” the source said. “Personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen.”


Uhhhh, personally I don’t think it’s gonna happen either. But don’t think that’s stopped the powers that be from channeling their inner Trump to issue swift denials.

“All our delivery partners including the national government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the IOC and the IPC [International Paralympic Committee] are fully focused on hosting the games this summer,” Tokyo’s local organizing committee said in a statement. “We hope that daily life can return to normal as soon as possible, and we will continue to make every effort to prepare for a safe and secure games.”


And the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee had this to say about the matter via a statement on Twitter:


On Friday morning, the Japanese government released its own statement in which it dismissed any reports that the Tokyo Games will be canceled due to COVID-19 concerns as “categorically untrue.”


At this point, I suppose all we can do is munch on our popcorn and wait, but where there’s smoke, there’s fire. So I would expect a definitive answer on this situation sooner than later.

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for y'all to stop putting sugar in grits.



it sucks that some athletes *might* age out of the Olympics or have to wait for their chance at “Olympics stardom” but that seems like a small price to pay compared to what would certainly be a super-spreader event, and that’s in a country that probably has its pandemic control shit locked down.