The world of sports has not been immune to the outbreak of the Corona Virus. COVID-19 has changed the whole sports landscape. The symptoms of this virus started to appear in the sport industry around February, when the UAE Cycling Tour was cancelled after just 5 stages, handing Adam Yates the victory with several stages remaining. Shortly afterwards, Serie A games - Italy’s football top fight - were postponed. Clearly, things were starting to escalate. Such was this escalation that the Champions League final was postponed immediately, the NBA was suspended and the Euros were moved to 2021. This started to spread shock waves amongst hopeful Olympians, as questions emerged over the feasibility of holding the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. On the 25th of March, their hopes came crashing down as the ICO officially announced the Olympics will not be taking place this summer. Although this is a wise decision as the Corona Virus represents a global crisis that requires extraordinary measures, this has had many unintended consequences: legally, economically and for the athletes themselves.
From an athletic standpoint, saying the cancellation of Tokyo 2020 is a disappointment is an understatement. Between each Olympic Games there are 4 years. This time is used by the Olympians to prepare their bodies to the fullest of its physical and mental capacity so that when the time arrives, they can fight for the precious medals. This preparation is gruelling. Not only do they have to put hours of work in everyday for 4 years without rest, these athletes prepare in remote areas where training conditions are optimal but comfort is far from ideal. With the cancellation of the games, all of this sacrifice will generate no reward whatsoever, leaving athletes with an incurable lifetime scar. Moreover, many athletes only have one shot at the Olympics, as their bodies peak at a certain age, meaning their Olympic dream has been crushed.
What is more, the cancelation of Tokyo 2020 could lead to serious legal fallout. The ICO makes billion dollar advertisement deals with companies such as McDonalds. These deals entail contracts which specify the terms of the agreement. However, with the games not taking place, the contract is effectively broken. This could lead to negotiations of new contracts or companies who have seen promises in their contracts unfulfilled taking legal action. Both of these scenarios entail long hours of paperwork as these deals take years to negotiate. Thus, this is nothing short than a logistical nightmare.
The Olympics postponement will also lead to further economic suffering. The main incentive of holding Olympics games in your country is that the games captivate a huge audience. Millions from around the world fly in to the host city to experience this unique moment. This represents a tremendous injection into the economy, as people from all over the world spend money in the host city. This injection is so big that it compensates the costly task of hosting the Olympics (building stadiums, etc.). For instance, the cost of hosting the Olympics in London in 2012 was 14.8 billion dollars. So, the cancelation will clearly trigger economic carnage, as people will not travel to Tokyo and therefore will not spend their money there. Economists at Nomura predict a 1.5% contraction in GDP due to the cancellation of the Olympics – a significant blow to Japan’s economy. This is extremely important because as a result of the global pandemic, economic activity has frozen meaning that the cancellation of the Olympics exacerbates the current condition of the Japanese economy, an economy which has had significant flirts with deflation.
Clearly, although many have welcomed the cancellation of the Olympic Games as it assists the global fight against COVID-19, the consequences that this cancellation entails should not be underestimated.
Carlos B, Year 13