The Consequences of the Formerly 2020 Summer Olympics

Reagan Kaelle, Staff Writer

Simone Biles stands in a crowded arena, moments away from the performance of her life. Pulse racing and buzzing with adrenaline, she stands facing the familiar five primary-colored rings. The spectators are chanting her name, but as she focuses on the sound as it turns into beeping. The familiar tone of her alarm clock draws her out of the vivid dream, a dream that will have to wait another year to become reality. 

The Olympics, which are the peak of any athlete’s career and one of the greatest displays of international collaboration and athletic prowess, were postponed due to health concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This presented a multitude of consequences for both the host country and the athletes.

Data collected by historian Bill Mallon revealed that about 74 percent of all Summer Olympians participated in one Olympics,19 percent appeared twice, six percent appeared in three games, and slightly under 2 percent appeared in four or more games. So even for incredible athletes, the window of opportunity is very brief and the majority of athletes will only get one shot at it. 

“Athletes are probably feeling discouraged but also motivated because they have to train harder for when it (the Olympics) actually happens,” sophomore Lindsay French said.

Former Olympic Athlete and Miramonte alum Heather Petri talked about the community’s response to the postponement: “Initially I heard a lot of frustration, sadness, and anger from folks. But then amongst the ranks of elite athletes, you started to see a shift to hope, resilience, and grit… How will these athletes be able to train for one more year? Some athletes are students and need to take the year off of school in order to train and compete. How will this need for an extended time affect their college eligibility, scholarships, and graduation? For all athletes, funding is a major factor in being able to be an Olympian…So now an Olympic athlete is worrying about their health and wellness, how and where to train and on top of it if they will be able to make it financially,” Petri said.

As the athletes resigned themselves to waiting another year,a  very expensive issue came to the forefront of the Olympic community; the economic impact that postponement will have on Japan.

According to World of Labor, a policy-based online platform, “The Tokyo Olympics involves … the issuing of 7.8 million tickets, of which 4.5 million have already been sold. However, it is the sale of broadcasting rights, together with their commercial sponsorship, which is more lucrative and on which the financial success of the Games depends… It has been estimated that over $10 billion has already been spent in preparing for the Games and that an additional two billion dollars will be incurred as a result of the postponement.”

The choice to postpone the games was the safest option and despite the issues following the IOC’s decision, spectators can look forward to 2021. For athletes, the thrill of the competition will stay in their dreams until next summer, but they can sleep well knowing that the benefits outweighed the global consequences.