Due to the increasing number of coronavirus cases popping up all over the world, there have been reports that the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo may be canceled.
However, the IOC recently released a statement announcing that the games will continue as scheduled.
“The International Olympic Committee executive board today expressed its full commitment to the success of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, taking place from 24 July to 9 August 2020,” read a statement.
Adding, “The IOC EB heard a report on all the measures taken so far to address the coronavirus situation, which was followed by a comprehensive discussion. A joint task force had already been created in mid-February, involving the IOC, Tokyo 2020, the host city of Tokyo, the government of Japan and the World Health Organization. The IOC will continue to follow the advice of WHO, as the leading United Nations agency on this topic.”
According to a senior member of the International Olympic Committee, Dick Pound, if the virus cannot be contained, the organizers of the Games will have to reevaluate if it should be postponed or officially canceled.
“This is the new war and you have to face it. In and around that time, I’d say folks are going to have to ask: ‘Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo, or not?'” the former Canadian swim champion told the Associated Press.
With the national event scheduled to kick off on July 24, the IOC member (since 1978) explained that the committee has a two or three-month window in deciding whether or not the Tokyo Olympics will be canceled or rescheduled.
And, this isn't the first time the Olympic Games have been canceled in modern history.
Yes, the Olympic Games have been canceled before.
In modern history, the Olympics have been canceled a total of five times due to war (via People). The 1916 Summer Olympics, which was scheduled in Berlin, Germany, was canceled due to World War 1. In 1940 and 1944 the Winter and Summer Olympics were also called off due to World War II.
The last time the Games have been canceled was during World War II.
So, when will the committee decide the fate of the 2020 Summer Olympics?
“You could certainly go to two months out if you had to,” Pound told the AP. “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, Pound explained that the IOC could decide to move the Olympics to another city.
He continued, “You just don’t postpone something on the size and scale of the Olympics. There’s so many moving parts, so many countries and different seasons, and competitive seasons, and television seasons. You can’t just say, `We’ll do it in October.’”
Twitter reacts to the possibility of the 2020 Olympics being canceled.
Since news broke that the biggest sporting event in history could be canceled due to the coronavirus epidemic, people quickly took to Twitter to voice their reactions.
One person tweeted, "We need to figure out the #CoronavirusOutbreak cause if they cancel my #Olympics2020 there is going to be a lot of ugly crying. #USA."
"Let's panic and cancel #Olympics2020. It's only 5 months away and we've had 2 months of #coronavirus in which 0.0001% of the world's population outside China has been infected, 85% of whom didn't even need medical treatment," tweeted one person.
Additionally, a fan wrote, "Hearing that the #Olympics2020 may get cancelled is heartbreaking as a spectator. I can’t imagine what the athletes who had dreams of competing are going through."