While the world of sports has endured many canceled competitions, perhaps the most significant was the 2020 Tokyo Olympics being delayed for an entire year. It was originally assumed that this was more than a temporary pushback and that an event that sees 11,000 athletes from 200 countries converge in one place along with media and fans would likely not be returning for a long time, but that does not seem to be the case.
Now, the Olympic committee has said that Olympics must be held in 2021 with or without fans and media attendance. “The Games were going to be their theme, the Reconstruction Games after the devastation of the tsunami,” IOC Vice President John Coates told AFP, referring to the 2011 catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan. “Now very much these will be the Games that conquered COVID, the light at the end of the tunnel.”
While it is impossible to guess what the state of the world will be in nine to 10 months, this seems like it would be a massive risk to hold the event considering the volume of people needed to put it on. The financial costs are probably driving this decision. The Olympics tends to be very costly for the host country since they are in charge of funding the event and have to build extra stadiums in order to house the competitions. COVID precautions would likely also add another element of difficulty to the equation and lead to a much higher cost.