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COVID-19 Postpones Summer Olympics to 2021, Athletes Weigh In

This is the first time that the Games have been rescheduled in the 21st century. Tokyo Olympics Photo.

With the COVID-19 pandemic only becoming worse in the last week, Japan finally caved to postponing the 2020 Summer Olympics to 2021. According to the New York Times, the decision to push the event was supported by both Japan and the International Olympic Committee. But perhaps the biggest advocate for rescheduling came from the athletes themselves, who’ve been unable to train or compete at qualifying events due to self-isolation or quarantine measures.

RELATED: Backcountry Skiing is Now Banned on Colorado’s Red Mountain Pass

Many athletes, coaches, and fans have argued for the prioritization of health and safety to take precedent over trying to make the Games work amidst a crisis with no certain end. Prior to Japan’s announcement, Canada and Australia went ahead and withdrew their teams, citing the need to protect the well-being of their athletes. In separate announcements, USA Track and Swimming made pleads to the IOC to postpone the Games. Unable to ignore the rapid spread of the disease globally and justify gathering 11,000 athletes from 200 countries to Tokyo for four months, both the IOC and Japan could no longer evade the inevitable.

With the Games pushed till 2021, it marks the first time something other than war has affected the Olympics. World War I canceled the 1916 summer Games, and World War II canceled both the summer and winter Games in 1940 and 1944. The details for the new date are still being smoothed out, but in the meantime, Japan plans to go ahead with the Olympic relay to send a message of hope throughout the country. The only caveat though, is that instead of a relay runner, the flame will be whisked through Japanese streets via a car.

While the news is still being digested by the world, some 2020 Olympians have turned to social media to express their shock and feelings towards the postponement.

Noguchi Akiyo - Climber Japan

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The historical breaking news of the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 came into me. I really can’t find the right way to control my mind. During this hard time, I can rather stay positive because I can climb longer until the last game starts. Tokyo2020 is truly my finals. Now we must fight against the disaster that the world is facing. I wish all the best for the future Tokyo2020. I will spend the time I have given to be stronger in both physically and mentally way because I want to be one of the most excited people who wish the game to be the most successful ever. —————————————— オリンピックの延期という史上初の報道を受け、まだ整理がつかないというのが正直なところです。 しかし、8月の東京五輪を集大成に位置付けていた私にとって、大好きな競技生活が1日でも長く過ごせる事をポジティブに捉えています。 今は、世界中が直面しているこの状況を1日でも早く乗り越え、楽しみにしているオリンピックが東京で開催されることを願うと共に、その大会を盛り上げる1人になれるよう、心身共に成長する時間にしていきます。 クライミングを通じて少しでもみなさんに元気をお届けできますように! ——————————————— @tokyo2020 @team_nippon @au_official #大和証券 #セブンイレブン @thenorthfacejp @raffinee_orientalbio #三井不動産 @cowsoapcp #zeta @c3fit @lasportivajp @petzl_official @newhale_japan

A post shared by NoguchiAkiyo / 野口啓代 / のぐちあきよ (@noguchi_akiyo) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-HwvG3A7Zn/

Petra Klinger - Climber Switzerland

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-HtbIXDqPF/

Tomoa Narasaki - Climber Japan

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I’m literally shocked by the new of Tokyo2020 postponement. Nevertheless, I’m keep aiming for the same goal. No matter when the game will begin. For us, the Olympic Games is always the huge target and dream. I wish the situation would be resolved for all people, athletes, so we can enjoy fair play in the best game in Tokyo. From now on, I do what I can climb to prepare for the great future. ————————————— オリンピックが延期されることを知り、正直驚きました。 しかし、オリンピックの開催がいつになったとしても、自分の目指すものは変わりません。 僕たちアスリートにとってオリンピックは大きな目標であり、夢です。 1日も早くこの状況が終息する事を願っています。そして世界中のアスリートがフェアな状態で最高の東京オリンピックが開催されることを祈って、今の自分に出来ることを積み重ねていきたいと思います。 ——————————————— photo by 小海途 良幹 @tokyo2020 #東京オリンピック @au_official #セブンイレブン @thenorthfacejp #アイディホーム @air_sleeptechnology @unparallelup @frictionlabs

A post shared by Tomoa Narasaki/楢崎智亜 (@tomoa_narasaki) on

  https://www.instagram.com/p/B-HuFjuDrM1/

Nyjah Hutson - Skateboarder

  https://www.instagram.com/p/B-GRDY9Hb__/

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