The Olympics might be cancelled for the first time since World War II.
The Coronavirus is slowly spreading across the globe and while the population at large remains relatively unaffected, the virus is proving to have other implications: Stock markets are beginning to see a dip, international travel is being restricted and now, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are facing cancellation.
According to NBC News, Dick Pound, a member of the International Olympic Committee, warned that if the Japanese government and the IOC isn’t sufficiently organized in the three months or so before the games, they might have to cancel the event. “You could certainly go to two months out if you had to,” Pound said of the potential time they have to make a decision. “A lot of things have to start happening. 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.”
However, as a member of the IOC, Pound is able to confidently tell the athletes: “As far as we all know you’re going to be in Tokyo. All indications are at this stage that it will be business as usual.”
“So keep focused on your sport and be sure that the IOC is not going to send you into a pandemic situation,” he added.
Thus far, the country of Japan has confirmed less than 20 cases of Coronavirus, according to the Japan Times, but NBC News reports there has been four deaths. In comparison, China has 77,658 cases and 2,663 deaths, a higher number since this is where the illness was first detected.
Ultimately, these cases and the spread of the disease will determine the fate of the Olympics in the coming months. Pound reveals the IOC is consulting with World Health Organization, who will help them to determine the next moves.
Although, options are limited since Pound claims delaying the games by a few months or an entire year or moving the Olympics to an entirely different locale is “difficult” because “there’s so many moving parts.”
Only time will tell whether the athletes will have the chance to go for gold.