Sorry, Jules. Photo: WSL
Australia Pulls Its Athletes From The 2020 Olympics, Practically Guaranteeing Other Nations Will Follow
“It’s clear the Games can’t be held in July." - Australian Olympic Committee
For weeks we've been wondering if the 2020 Olympics would, could, still run in Tokyo this July-August.
Surely we needn't explain the culprit behind their indecision, but on paper, we can't see how the IOC would justify running the Games in such a viral environment (AKA the entire world).
But with the IOC refusing to pull the plug, Australia stepped in.
The AOC says Australian athletes should prepare for a Tokyo Olympic Games in the northern summer of 2021, following the IOC’s announcement of a potential postponement of this year’s Games and changes in public health landscape in Australia and across the globe.
The AOC held an Executive Board meeting via teleconference this morning and unanimously agreed that an Australian Team could not be assembled in the changing circumstances at home and abroad.
“We have athletes based overseas, training at central locations around Australia as teams and managing their own programs. With travel and other restrictions this becomes an untenable situation," says AOC Chief Executive Matt Carroll.
“It’s clear the Games can’t be held in July," Carroll continued. "While there will still be much to work out as a result of this change, the timing will allow athletes from around the world to properly prepare with the hope the coronavirus crisis will be under control.
“We are aware that for many such a postponement will present a range of new issues. But when the world does come together at the Tokyo Olympic Games they can be a true celebration of sport and humanity.”
So, what are the implications here?
1. Australia proved that it has the biggest dick pillows in all of world sport by making this announcement. The matter-of-factness with which they state, “It’s clear the Games can’t be held in July," is both hilarious and genius, as it will open the floodgates for other nations to follow, thus canceling the Games before Japan and the IOC can even have a say.
2. This really sucks for the athletes whose Olympic training is highly intensive, AKA most of them who aren't surfers. These kids put in years of day-in, day-out training with specific benchmarks in mind for each month, week, and day leading up to Tokyo. Now they have to start over again, with the end date scheduled another 12 months out. Meanwhile, absolutely nothing changes in the lives of Julian Wilson, Owen Wright, Steph Gilmore, and Sally Fitzgibbons, except for their earning capacity, which just gained an extra year of that Olympic weight (cha-ching!—assuming coronavirus doesn't bankrupt all their sponsors).
3. If the IOC does push the Tokyo Games back to summer 2021, they'll only have a six-month gap between the summer and winter Olympics. This is not super relevant to the story but I found it interesting nonetheless.
In the coming days, expect other nations (especially those in the "west") to follow Australia's lead and pull out of Tokyo 2020. Then expect for the IOC to officially postpone the Games.
Yep, this is really happening.
8:30 PM PST UPDATE: Canada also just pulled out.