If Olympics Don't Happen in 2021, They Could Be Completely Canceled

Christopher Walsh

The University of Alabama has numerous current and former athletes with dreams of someday competing in the Olympics.

For many, those dreams have already been put on hold. The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics were postponed due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, as it would be impossible to gather the thousands and thousands of fans, athletes, reporters, and others in one place for two weeks.

Numerous athletes with Crimson Tide connections were trying to qualify with their home countries in track and swimming. Gymnast Shallon Olsen is on Team Canada, and former Alabama softball standout Haylie McCleney was set to play for Team USA. 

Former Crimson Tide golfer Justin Thomas was among those due to try and qualify as well. 

However, there are still concerns over whether or not the pandemic will still be an issue when the summer of 2021 rolls around, and it is still being determined whether or not a vaccine will be mandatory in order for the event to take place as currently scheduled.

Consequently, IOC chief Thomas Bach has already proclaimed that the Tokyo Olympics will be canceled if they can’t be held in 2021. 

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Bach that the organization and scheduling conflicts that would arise from postponing the Olympics again past their current date of July-Aug. 2021 would make it nearly impossible to have the summer games at all.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, believes it's possible but "not easy" for 11,000 athletes from more than 200 teams to come together in Tokyo.

"We are relying on the advice of the World Health Organization,” Bach said. “We have established one principle: to organize these Games in a safe environment for all the participants. Nobody knows what the world will look like in one year, in two months."

The 2021 Tokyo Olympics are now slated to be held from July 24 to Aug. 9.

For more Olympics coverage, check out these SI links: