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Uphold Olympic spirit in the time of pandemic

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-03-25 11:49

A passerby wearing a protective face mask following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) walks past a screen displaying logos of Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan March 19, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

Editor's note: With the novel coronavirus pandemic continuing to spread in many countries the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo organizers announced on Tuesday evening that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but no later than summer 2021. Two experts share their views on the impact with China Daily's Liu Jianna. Excerpts follow:

Unite for Olympics and common good

Rescheduling the Tokyo Olympics is an expediency that must be taken because the pandemic is unlikely to be effectively contained within three months.

As for how long the Games could be postponed, it depends on how the pandemic plays out in the coming months.

But the longer the Games is delayed, the bigger the loss for Tokyo, among which the loss suffered by the venues, most of which are owned by individuals or companies, would be huge.

Moreover, Tokyo's tourism industry (indeed the whole of Japan's tourism industry) would suffer an even bigger blow than the one already dealt by the coronavirus outbreak.

After being postponed, how will the Games be played and whether spectators would be allowed into the stadiums will depend on the extent to which the pandemic is contained.

Therefore, Japan should do its utmost to control the outbreak at home as well as join hands with other countries to contain it across the world.
The role of some politicians in some countries in the global fight against the novel coronavirus has been disappointing, because, instead of joining the global fight against the virus, they play the blame game in the pandemic.

But this is not the time to indulge in selfishness and create divisions, but to unite and provide leadership, because only a united fight can safeguard the Olympic spirit and ensure a victory against the virus.

Zhou Weisheng, a professor at the College of Policy Science at Ritsumeikan University

Better later than never

That some countries planned to follow Canada and Australia to pull out of Tokyo 2020 Olympics had already urged the IOC to postpone the Tokyo Games. Even though the IOC had said it would take a final call on the issue in a month, such pressure from those countries seem like baleful coercion, which could undermine the unity of the Olympic family. And now the Games has been postponed to next year, which is for the first time in Olympics' modern history.

But given the tight sports calendar ahead — the World Athletics Championships and World Swimming Championships are scheduled for 2021 and the Beijing Winter Olympics and Asian Games for 2022 — deferring the

Summer Olympics to next year could also cause a lot of trouble.
The rescheduling of the Summer Games may not inflict huge losses on the IOC and the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. But the losses would be difficult to calculate if the Games were canceled altogether; at a conservative estimate, more than $20 billion including the IOC's Olympic Partners Program and media rights earning, and the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee's sponsorship and ticket revenue, and investment in infrastructure would all go down the drain.

Besides, Tokyo has made extremely meticulous preparations for the Summer Games, issuing specific and strict guidelines on medication and health management for the Olympics long time ago, much before the world was ravaged by the pandemic.

But it is important to view the postponement of the Tokyo Games rationally, and desist from making irresponsible remarks, because such acts violate the Olympic spirit of unity and harmony.

Most importantly, the Olympiad traditions of 293 Olympics in ancient history and the regular celebration of the sports gala in modern times for 124 years should be preserved.

Yi Jiandong, a professor at Wenzhou University and an expert in Olympic studies
The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.


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