Stab Magazine | Is Surfing About To Lose Its Olympic Debut?

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Is Surfing About To Lose Its Olympic Debut?

Concerns around the Coronavirus could spell disaster for Tokyo 2020, surfing included. 

news // Feb 27, 2020
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Coronavirus has killed 2,600 people, tanked international stock markets, and might just spell the end of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

That, of course, includes surfing, which was set to make its Olympic debut in the Japan Games this July. 

For more insight on this topic, we turn to The Guardian:

A senior member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said outright cancellation of the Games, rather than postponement or relocation, would be likely if the disease proved too dangerous for the event – which is scheduled to start on 24 July – to go ahead.

Dick Pound, a former Canadian swimming champion who has been on the IOC since 1978, estimated there is a three-month window – perhaps a two-month one – to decide the fate of the Tokyo Games, meaning a decision could be put off until late May.


If there’s one thing that can save the 2020 Games (and all the surfers therein), it’s likely to be modern medicine. According to


, American biotechnology co. Gilead is the “…

frontrunner in the race to find an effective treatment for the novel coronavirus.”

Gilead’s medicine, called

remdesivir, is currently being tested on 761 patients in Wuhan, China. The results of these tests will be revealed on April 27th, which is just before the May cutoff outlined by IOC member Dick Pound.

In short, if remdesivir fails, the Olympics will likely be called off for good, shattering the dreams of Kanoa Igarashi, Fernando Aguerre, and the like. 

According to The Guardian:

If the IOC decides the games cannot go forward as scheduled in Tokyo, “you’re probably looking at a cancellation,” Dick Pound said.

Sporting events across Japan have already been called off due to the outbreak; all J-League football has been postponed until 15 March, the biggest disruption of the professional game in Japan since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Meanwhile, Olympic qualifiers continue to appear on talk shows, at Lakers’ games, and other PR platforms as if nothing’s wrong. 


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