Oral Tracey | We can wait a year
The decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to postpone the Tokyo Olympics was always on the cards. It was more out of blind optimism and induced hope that circumstances would drastically change that the local organising committee and the IOC had kept holding back on the decision.
The pleasant surprise in this move is that the Olympics was not completely cancelled but merely rescheduled to the summer of 2021. Outside of fine-tuning the logistics of staging the biggest multisport spectacle in all sports within a limited window already stacked with other regularly scheduled and rescheduled events, a postponement might well be the best possible outcome to the current crisis for all involved.
COVID-19 was never going to completely disappear in time for the smooth staging of the Games this summer. The athletes across the various sports were never going to be adequately prepared and competition-ready, even if the virus were to cease its destructive operations as of today. The nearly irreparable damage has already been done.
It will be hard regaining the public’s trust as it relates to the fans playing their role in the capturing of the essence the Olympic Games as we have all come to know and love it. It was always going to be cutting it close to expect the entire world to move from pandemic crisis mode to fun sporting mode in a matter of a few months, especially with a virus that brings with it so much mystery and uncertainty.
This now default one-year window provides enough time for all the stakeholders to overcome whatever trepidations there might have been with the rushed staging of the event in adherence to the original dates. From the perspective of Jamaica and the Jamaican athletes, the reaction of disappointment is understandable, but under the circumstances, a one-year delay is an option worth embracing. Injuries aside, outside of reshaping their preparation and competitive schedule, it is highly unlikely that an athlete who would have won an Olympic medal this summer will be unable to win that same medal next summer.
DEFY THE ODDS
Veteran sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has been in the form of her life coming into this, her fourth Olympic Games. She will be approaching her 35th birthday in 2021 but coming off a nearly totally idle 2020. While regaining her supreme form at that age and stage will be challenging, if there is one individual on this planet who can beat those odds and defy the conventional laws of chronology, it is she. Generally, across the sports spectrum, the physical and psychological preparation and ultimate readiness of all the athletes should be enhanced in these ‘extra’ 12 months.
The athletes and their coaches, as well as the organisers, administrators, and host nation, will all have a clear year to plan their programmes and prepare meticulously and strategically for the Olympic Games, hopefully without any major disruptions.
In our quiet moments of disgruntlement and discontent brought about by the onslaught of this pandemic, we must maintain an appreciation for how much worse this could have been and how bad it might yet be for many members of the global family. It also provides many sober learning moments as the entire world grapples with this major catastrophe. In the wider scheme of things, a one-year wait for an opportunity to embrace and enjoy the luxury, prestige, and spectacle of the greatest sporting event on Earth, all things considered, is, indeed, a very short one.