Rumour is brewing, and has been for some time now, that the 2021 (formerly 2020) Olympic Games in Japan could be cancelled outright. The global sports competition was postponed from last year, in the wake of the rise of the coronavirus pandemic and is currently scheduled to take place in July and August of this year. The Covid-19 virus has exploded across the pacific and across the world once again in recent months prompting mass shut-downs, lock-downs and curfews in all reaches of the earth.
The Japanese government, along with the IOC (International Olympic Committee), vehemently deny that any such cancellation is to occur, and insist that events will go ahead as planned. The only alternative in cancelling the games would be for them to re-bid for the next available opportunity – 2032 – a long way away. At the very least, the virus would likely be a thing of the past by that point, but it would be such a shame for the nation of Japan, having gone through all the trouble of making the bid, winning the right to hold the games and spending countless millions to get things ready, to have to pull the plug at the very last minute. It would be devastating.
One of the highlights of the cycling calendar is the Olympics, taking us to places we don’t see every year on the World Tour, experiencing different terrains and different landscapes as the best in the world strive for victory in the name of their various countries from around the world. It is a spectacle, to be sure and, taking place off the back of a huge uptick in the popularity of cycling worldwide, to have a global cycling showcase, such as that, cancelled would be disastrous.
It begs the question, also – would that prompt the cancellation of other cycling events? The big three of the World Tour – The Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana – are scheduled to begin in May, June and August, respectively, this year, with the Olympics planted right in the middle of that busy period. The Coronavirus, while bad in the East, is not so bad yet as it is in Central and Western Europe. Cycling fans across the world will be crossing their fingers, toes and eyes in the hope that the same disruptions to last year’s season don’t repeat themselves this year. We can only hope.