(ATR) The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been postponed until next year. Now the hard work begins again.
Tokyo National Stadium (Tokyo 2020)
Top of the list is probably choosing the new dates. The IOC says the Games will be rescheduled “not later than summer 2021” which allows for the possibility of holding the event during the spring amid the cherry blossom season in Tokyo.
A window to hold the Olympics will likely have to include the Paralympics, which were to follow the Olympics by two weeks this summer.
Holding the Olympics in the spring would certainly solve the issue of Tokyo’s intense summer heat, which was such a worry that the IOC forced the marathon and other distance running events to be moved to Sapporo.
It would also avoid a clash with the World Athletics Championships scheduled in August and the World Aquatics Championships scheduled in July of 2021. Both the athletics and swimming federations have indicated they are willing to work with the IOC on tweaking the calendar to make room for the Olympics.
Whatever dates are chosen, there will be plenty of logistical headaches that will accompany the change.
IOC president Thomas Bach explained what’s ahead in a letter to athletes published on Sunday as part of an IOC defense for delaying the decision.
Thomas Bach says the postponement is "an extremely complex challenge". (ATR)
“Contrary to other sports events, to postpone the Olympic Games is an extremely complex challenge,” Bach said.
“A number of critical venues needed for the Games could potentially not be available anymore. The situations with millions of nights already booked in hotels is extremely difficult to handle, and the international sports calendar for at least 33 Olympic sports would have to be adapted. These are just a few of many, many more challenges.”
Among those other challenges is how to figure out the qualification process for an Olympics that will be held up to a year later than originally scheduled.
What to do with the 57 percent of athletes who have already qualified for Tokyo 2020? USA weightlifter Kate Nye is one of those, and made it clear what she thinks should be done.
“I have been destroying my body to climb my way to the top for 4 years,” she said on Twitter. “I want every athlete that has earned their spot to be locked into it. We have earned our spots and I don’t even want to THINK about them being taken away.”
Russian athletes competed under the Olympic flag in Pyeongchang 2018 (ATR)
For some countries and federations, a delay could prove beneficial. For example, the extra time might allow the Russian Athletics Federation to fulfill the requirements for reinstatement into World Athletics for its past doping violations. Russian athletes might be allowed to compete under their own flag in Tokyo if that were to happen.
It could be a moot point if the Court of Arbitration for Sport rules in favor of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in its decision to ban Russia from Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 as part of the punishment for manipulating laboratory data.
International boxing federation AIBA could use the additional months to get its house in order and be reinstated by the IOC. Would AIBA be put back in charge of Olympic qualification and the Olympic boxing tournament? Currently, the IOC Boxing Task Force is in charge of that.
A few hours before Tuesday’s announcement of the postponement of the Games, Tokyo 2020 announced that its executive board would be meeting on March 30. Clearly there will be plenty on the agenda.
Written by Gerard Farek
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