COVID-19 claims Tokyo Olympics
IT’S only right that the Tokyo Olympics were postponed to next year amid the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has infected more than 150 countries and cost the lives of nearly 20,000.
Why it took the International Olympic Committee (IOC) so long (March 24) to come up with this decision remains a mystery.
Before that, Canada had already warned the organizers that it was not sending its athletes if the Games were held this year.
Australia also announced it won’t allow its basketball team to suit up unless the Games were not postponed till 2021.
Perhaps the last nail in the coffin came from the recommendation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who two days before had sought the rescheduling of the Games even if the host country, which was also hit hard by the plague, had already spent $12.6 billion for the Games.
Most of the 11,000 athletes from 206 countries and territories expected to see action in the Tokyo Olympics had not been able to train and use facilities following the coronavirus outbreak due to lockdowns imposed by their respective countries.
That the Tokyo Olympics were canceled also made life easier for the NBA if it intends to resume play for its remaining 259 regular games in mid-to-late June and then into the playoffs in August.
Had the Tokyo Games been held from July 24-August 9 as originally slated, the best of the NBA players won’t be able to represent Team USA in the biennial competitions.
With the postponement, there is less pressure for the NBA on how to realign its schedule upon the lifting of its game suspension, assuming it does when the contagion has been defeated.
The NBA is bound to lose around $500 million if the remaining regular games are not held (without fans) and more than $1.2 billion if the league also decides to scrap the playoffs.
Canceling the rest of the 2019-20 campaign will cost each of the 30 member teams around $40 million.
This in-season suspension of NBA play is unprecedented in league history but so was the global health problem that is the coronavirus.
For branding, it will still be called Tokyo 2020 when the Games are held next year.
This is the first time that a Summer Olympics has been rescheduled during peace time.
Thrice before, the Olympics were scrapped due to World War I (1916) and World War II (twice, 1940 and 1944).
It’s said that 93 percent of athletes want the Games to be postponed.
Moreover, only 43 percent of the athletes have bought air tickets to the Tokyo Games.
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