We share in hope for  2021 Olympics

E CARTOON MAR 27, 2020 It  was  perhaps  inevitable that the 2020 Tokyo  Olympics would be postponed,  considering all that is happening around the world today, with  governments shutting down borders along with public meeting places and limiting the movement of people because of the coronavirus, COVID-19.,

The Olympics were to be held this July,  just  four months  from  now.  Last March 20,  Japanese Olympic  officials welcomed   the arrival of the Olympic flame from Greece  – where the modern  Olympics began in 1896.  A torch  relay was scheduled  to  begin yesterday to carry the flame through all of Japan’s  47 prefectures  for 121 days  before  it is used to light up  the Olympic  Cauldron at the  Games site in Tokyo.

For weeks, various sports officials and  athletes  around the world  had  aired doubts and fears about  a mass  gathering like the Olympics  when  the  whole world was locking down. The training programs of aspiring Olympic athletes were disrupted as gyms were closed.  Our own pole vault  champion E. J. Obiena   had to  leave his training quarters  in Italy, which has already surpassed China in the number of coronavirus  deaths.

Canada and Australia officially withdrew their teams,  followed by the US Olympic Committee and World Athletes joining  the gathering call for  postponement.  Finally last Tuesday,  Japan  Prime Minister  Shinzo  Abe  officially  proposed what was on everybody’s mind  –  postponement  of the Games.  International  Olympic  Committee President Thomas  Bach immediately agreed.

Since the modern   Olympic Games began in 1896, there  have been two times that they were cancelled. The 1916 Games in Berlin, Germany,  were cancelled due to the outbreak of World War I. There was a move to also cancel the 1936 Games in Berlin because of the rise to power of the Nazis, but Hitler assured  Jews would be allowed to compete,  even with the German team.

The 1940 Games were to be held in London, England,   but they  were  cancelled as World War II broke out.  The Games  finally resumed  in 1948 in London, just two years after the war  ended, with no new arenas  or athletes quarters  that  they became known  as the”Austerity Games.”

The Olympics have since been  held  every four years, with the athletes of all nations looking forward to completing in this greatest of all athletic  competitions. Tokyo  built a huge new stadium  for these games  and  was ahead on all the preparations. Then  the  coronavirus  began its deadly spread around the world,  jumping from China to nearby Asian countries, to   Europe,  to the United  States, and to the rest of the world.

There is yet no end in sight to the coronavirus  pandemic, but  the whole world  hopes it will be over in a few months.  The process  of  recovery  will  then begin and the Tokyo Olympics, it is hoped,  can finally be held in 2021. It is a hope in which we all share.