I wrote a column a couple of weeks ago saying that kids (and adults) would have to use the lessons we learn from sports during the crisis caused by the novel coronavirus. We were all going to have to listen, be good teammates and deal with disappointment.
One of those disappointments has arrived: The 2020 Summer Olympics has been postponed until 2021.
It’s a disappointment, because we all love the Olympics.
The Summer Games are great because there are so many sports — from archery to wrestling and plenty of events in between. Nearly 50 sports.
This year the Games were going to introduce several new Olympic sports, including sport climbing, surfing and skateboarding.
I am sure the Summer Olympics have inspired millions of kids watching on television to say, “That sport looks like fun; maybe I could do it.”
In addition, the Summer Games put the spotlight on athletes who don’t get enough recognition during non-Olympic years. Gymnast Simone Biles and swimmer Katie Ledecky are among the most dominant athletes in the world. But let’s face it, they don’t get half the attention that Tom Brady or LeBron James gets — except during the Olympics.
Attention on TV
The Summer Olympics is also one of the few times when female athletes get the same amount of attention on television as male athletes. During the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Americans won the most gold medals with a total of 46. US women won 29 of those gold medals, or 63 per cent of the total.
So take a deep breath; we will have to wait a year for all of that good stuff. But the International Olympic Committee had no choice.
The novel coronavirus has spread to six of the seven continents (it’s not in Antarctica). The Summer Games in Tokyo expected to host more than 11,000 athletes from around the world.
But it’s not just the athletes. Thousands more people from the countries’ delegations would accompany the athletes to the Games. Then there would be fans travelling to Tokyo from around the world. That’s too many people travelling to and from one spot during a pandemic.
In addition, the athletes couldn’t just stay in their homes before the Olympics. They would have to train for the Games. A survey by the US Olympic Committee indicated that almost 70 per cent of the American athletes were afraid that their training — in gyms, pools and other athletic venues — would put their health at risk.
So the 2020 Summer Games will be pushed to 2021.
It had to be done. But it’s still a disappointment.
— Fred Bowen writes sports opinion columns. He is the author of 24 sports books.