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Winter Olympics Could be Affected By COVID-19

When Will the Games Begin?

Before discussing the Winter Olympics, we should talk about the Summer Olympics. In fact, it is the first Olympics to be postponed in history from its original schedule of July 24th to August 9th of 2020. However, due to the global pandemic known as COVID-19, the event was rescheduled to July 23rd to August 8th of 2021.

We have seen the cancellation of the Olympics on three occasions (1916, 1940, and 1944) but this is a postponement, and the athletes that were scheduled to participate this year will, for the most part, be the same athletes we will see next year. But here’s the rub; the rescheduled Summer Olympics could be scrapped altogether if the pandemic has not been brought under control, which could affect the Winter Olympics just six months later.

The President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach had this to say about banning fans from attending, "This is not what we want. Because the Olympic spirit is about also uniting the fans and this is what makes the Games so unique that they're in an Olympic Stadium, all the fans from all over the world are together. But when it then would come to the decision... I would ask you to give me some more time for consultation with the athletes, with the World Health Organization, with the Japanese partners."

Bach went on to say that if the Summer Games cannot be held next year then it would be canceled entirely. "What could this mean for life in an Olympic Village and so on? All these different scenarios are under consideration and this is why I'm saying it's a mammoth task because there are so many different options that it's not easy to address them (now). When we have a clear view on how the world will look on 23 July 2021, then (we will) take the appropriate decisions."

The economic impact of rescheduling the games is devastating as the International Olympic Committee has had to budget an extra $800 million while Tokyo 2020 is costing the Japanese somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 to $6 billion.

Winter Games 2022

Beijing appears to be all systems go for the Winter Olympics slated to take place on February 4th through the 20th of 2022. As with the Summer Games, bettors will find that BetOnline offers odds for the winter gamesas the event draws closer, just make sure it's the right sportsbook for you. But if the Summer Games are canceled will the Winter Games be nixed as well?

It doesn’t appear that way if we consider a statement by the official Xinhua News Agency, in which they explained that Beijing 2022 organizers were in close communication with the IOC to ensure the "special situation" is handled properly. Despite the Summer and Winter Games being only six months separated, the Beijing organizers stated, "We believe the Summer Games in Tokyo and the Winter Games in Beijing will both be a success.”

On the surface, it appears as though China will have nothing deter it from holding the Winter Games and when IOC President Thomas Bach was asked why the Summer Games were not canceled altogether and much earlier, avoiding the extraordinary increased expenditures he had this to say, "We could have said, 'Okay, this is it' (and cancel them). We would have got our money being paid by insurance. And we could have started to prepare for Paris (in 2024). But this was not a real option because this would have deprived the athletes of this unique Olympic experience."

But there is also another narrative at work which relates to the COVID-19 epidemic and its original roots, Wuhan, China. There have been open discussions about the sensibility of allowing China to hold the Winter Games after its lack of transparency in the initial phases of the pandemic that paralyzed the entire world and caused hundreds of thousands of deaths. Could the 2022 Winter Olympics be stripped from China as a retaliatory measure?

United States President Donald Trump stated, “We have a lot of discussions going on with China. Let me just put it this way: I'm not happy, OK? I'm not happy. And I spoke to them. And this could have been shut down a long time ago. They knew it. And we couldn't get in. ... No, I'm not happy with China.”

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