The Olympic Games in Tokyo is currently set to begin on July 23 2021 but there is still much uncertainty if it will take place behind closed doors or at all.
There has been much discussion amongst the Olympic community as to whether it will be safe to host such a massive event in the wake of the Covid 19 pandemic. Just last month the former chief executive of London 2012 said that it would be “unlikely” that games would go ahead as planned.
Former Olympic champion track cyclist and silver medal winning rower, Rebecca Romero has told Parklife Sport that it would be “completely inappropriate” for the games to go ahead.
She said: “We will still be in the midst of a global pandemic and a global humanitarian crisis.
“There are so many issues involved that make the event itself and the preparations involved too complicated and too unfair. The opportunity for every athlete to compete on a level playing field won’t be the same or fair.”
While Japan is dealing well with the pandemic from a health perspective, financially the country is struggling. The country’s economy shrank by almost 5% in 2020 and hosting an Olympic Games could certainly make things worse.
Romero feels it would not be fair on Tokyo to host the games for this reason but also due to the fact that Coronavirus could still be around by the Summer.
“There is no way that an event on the scale of the Olympic Games, with all the logistics involved, could go ahead without the virus being spread somehow or somewhere and subsequent lives being lost,” she said.
“The Olympics is a global celebration bringing the five continents of the world together. In the summer of 2021 it won’t yet be a time to celebrate and until it is I don’t think the games should go ahead.”
Ironically, the last time the Olympic games were cancelled was in 1940 with Japan set to host, albeit in very different circumstances.
It will be a a terrible shame if the games do not go ahead but as Romero points out people’s lives should not be put in harm’s way for sport.
“As an Olympian myself I know that it will be heartbreaking for athletes and will have destroyed the careers of many. But unfortunately there’s more at stake here than the Olympics.”