Only 5 Olympics have ever been cancelled, all during war-time. And that was before big money was synonymous with the Olympics.
The Summer Olympics is held every 4 years. The first Summer Olympics was held in Athens in 1896. America only competed in 3 events – aquatics, athletics and shooting, with 27 entries in 16 events. Team USA won more gold medals than any other country in that glorious first year.
Rio de Janeiro held the last Summer Olympics in 2016. Tokyo defeated bids from Madrid and Istanbul, and was supposed to be the next host in 2020, but the Games were postponed due to COVID by 1 year – the first such delay in 124 years. Paris is the next incumbent (2024) and Los Angeles steps up after that (2028).
Tokyo postponed the Summer Olympics on March 24, 2020, for games that were set to run 122 days later from July 24th until August 9th, and from August 25th until September 6th for Paralympics. This was not exactly the first time for Tokyo – the 1940 Tokyo Summer Olympics was flat outright cancelled.
In December 2020, Japanese government auditors said that the postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympics cost US $15.4 billion. Unmet revenue projections were US $6.6 billion, mostly fuelled by local sponsorship, followed by ticket sales.
Insurance companies typically insure cancelled events, postponed events are somewhat more murky. And this is, after all, a first for the Olympics and the insurance industry, so who knows … Lawyers will be circling around this mess.
In the midst of renewed preparations, Japan has shown that it still has a long way to go in how it treats women. First, the President of the Organizing Committee, Yoshiro Mori, was forced to resign after making sexist comments, saying women talk too much in meetings. Then, Hiroshi Sasaki, the creative director of the 2021 Games, was forced to resign after making demeaning comments about a well-known, plus-sized female celebrity in Japan. The usual controversies about using bribery to win the bid, among other damning allegations, have not bypassed Japan.
According to Reuters, only 3.5% of the population of Japan (126 million) has been vaccinated against COVID-19. So far, Tokyo has had about 154,000 cases of COVID and almost 2,000 deaths. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike recently asked the Japanese Government to extend its state of emergency until May 31st to further curb coronavirus infections. Opinion polls have shown that a strong majority of the Country’s population want the 2021 Summer Olympics to be cancelled, but the IOC says it won’t be swayed by public opinion.
Here’s the public opinion of 1 Olympic athlete, in peak condition, who contracted COVID-19:
Mr. Kopacz, you’ve said it all. Nothing more need be said.
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