2021- the year of the Summer Olympics. 2022- the year of the Winter Olympics. Wait, what? For those who follow the Olympics, that previous statement would be scowl-inducing. The Olympics fall on even-numbered years, not odd. The Summer and Winter Olympics occur two years apart. What happened? A global pandemic happened.
We have been in this pandemic for two years now, yet the previous paragraph is still mind-blowing. It’s a global crisis that withstood political backlash, the change of seasons, and the turn of two New Years. However, there is something else that always withstands the test of time: the Olympics. The Olympics are a gathering of the world’s best athletes in each of their respective sports to compete on a global stage against each other. In 2020, however, there was a new competitor: COVID-19.
The fact that the Olympics had to be pushed back a year is a massive deal for the hosting nations, media, and biggest of all, the athletes. Let me explain why. These athletes have been training for their moment in the Olympic spotlight for years. They win State and National championships, then go on to World Championships before qualifying or being invited to participate in the Olympics. This increases their training schedule behind the scenes before any media outlet utters their name. This leads to even more hours put in, which affects their eating regimen, hydration requirements, vitamin intake, and all-around discipline in everyday life. All this ensures they are in the best shape they can possibly be for their time at the Olympics; when they need to be. It’s a delicate and timely regime typically not pushed out an entire year.
When it was officially announced that the 2020 Olympics were postponed to 2021, it was in the spring of 2020. That meant just a couple of months and essentially weeks until the Olympics were to begin. All the athletes’ preparations were now put on pause. These athletes could be glad for more time to prepare but also frustrated in the delay. The Olympics have only ever been canceled for War, which means we were truly in an unprecedented situation with it being canceled due to Coronavirus.
Without delving too far into the financial impact on host cities, sponsorships for the athletes, and the contractual compromise that would have had to be made in such an unknown situation, we are left with yet another way this virus has derailed life as we knew it. With that in mind, fast-forward to July-August 2021. The opening ceremony kicked off (without anyone in attendance), and the athletes were able to show their prowess as planned the previous year.
While there were some stories of the trials and tribulations that occurred due to the virus and the delay. In turn, however, the majority of the atmosphere of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in 2021 was that of gratitude. Gratitude for being able to have them, being able to participate, and being able to share them with others. The Olympics have always been, and always will be, a shining light in the world, proving how nations can come together to compete majestically and cordially. However, these summer Olympics had a beautiful ring of indefatigability and perseverance. Every performance seemed to carry an air of relief and excitement. The athletes not only overcame the usual challenges of being an Olympic athlete but also that of this newfound competitor. These Olympic athletes helped bring all of us together again, watching them on the biggest stage there is, cheering for our own and rooting for the underdogs.
This winter, the 2022 Winter Olympics have taken place without delay. Thanks to the guinea pig that was the Summer Olympics, and modern science solutions, these athletes will be able to partake in their spotlight right on schedule. Hopefully, there will be as many positive outlooks and stories for these Winter Olympics as there were for the Summer.
Do you watch the Olympics? What was your take on the delay of the Summer Olympics? Chime in below!