The Ring Around the 2021 Olympics

From+Creative+Commons%2C+Iconic+Olympic+Rings

From Creative Commons, Iconic Olympic Rings

Written by Kayla Norsworthy and Gretchen Nagle

Originally scheduled to take place from July 22 to August 8, the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan have been postponed amid the Covid-19 outbreak. Olympic athletes were left devastated and confused when informed about the postponement. The Tokyo Olympic Games Opening Ceremony will now be held on July 23, 2021.

The International Olympic Committee stated, “These new dates give the health authorities and all involved in the organization of the Games the maximum time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.” This decision was made based on three considerations: to protect athlete health, to stop COVID-19  spread, and to set the international sports calendar. 

Twenty-two year old Emma White, a professional racing cyclist, was ready to compete in her first Olympics in Tokyo when the coronavirus pandemic struck. Not only do Olympic athletes struggle with brutal physical demands, but also mental challenges. White told MarketWatch, “It’s exhausting. You eat, sleep and breathe thinking about the Olympics. Every decision in your life on and off the bike is for this one goal. To push that back a year, it’s a big mental challenge. It’s tough to stay motivated and positive through all this.” 

Another professional athlete who competes under the cycling category, Hannah Roberts, was disheartened by the news. “When the first announcement of the Olympics being postponed I thought it was a joke. I wasted a few weeks being sad and in my room instead of making the best out of a bad situation.” Roberts was one of the first Olympians to lock in her spot and qualify for Tokyo; she shared similar concerns to many athletes regarding a possible requalification process. “I thought I was going to have to requalify for the team which actually kept me progressing hard and happy to keep working everyday.”

Ultimately, athletes are ready to start competing and still dream of getting to hold their flag around their shoulders while being at the top of the podium.