An Associated Press report has cast a dark cloud over the 2020 Tokyo Summer OlympicGames, as the IOC has to face the prospect of the coronavirus outbreak that is threatening all of eastern Asia.
Knowing the Japanese predilection for cleanliness, they have time to disinfect the entire country several times over before the start of the games, but bringing athletes from around the world to a place where the nasty virus has paid a visit does sound a bit dodgy. The latest figures suggest that Japan has had around 160 confirmed cases of the virus.
Dick Pound, the longest serving member of the International Olympic Committee, during an interview with AP, did not mimic the hysteria being dished up by the germo-phobes of the world, but he did express that the IOC has some decision-making to do before the 2020 Tokyo Games start in late July.
“You could certainly go to two months out if you had to,” Pound said, which would mean putting off a decision until late May and hoping the virus is under control.”
There have been boycotts of the Olympic Games in the past, but just one or two countries staying away for political reasons.
It took World War II to stop the Olympics in 1940 and 1944.
When Melbourne hosted in 1956, the People’s Republic of China boycotted. It was the first time a country or countries had refused to participate. Along with China, several Middle Eastern countries stayed home, as did Spain, Switzerland, Netherlands and Cambodia.
The logistics of hosting and putting on an Olympics are simply staggering.
Pound mentioned that the last several months prior to an Olympics are conducted at a frenetic pace, so it is not simply the July 24 start date that is at risk.
“A lot of things have to start happening,” Pound said.“You’ve got to start ramping up your security, your food, the Olympic Village, the hotels, the media folks will be in there building their studios.”
Pound encouraged all participating athletes to continue training.
Will this be the Olympics where we see swimmers and sprinters outfitted with surgical masks?
According to Pound, if the preparations cannot go forward, “You’re probably looking at a cancellation.”