Postponing Tokyo Olympics is a tough but necessary task

Imagine if the Olympic Games were coming to Lake Placid again.

And then they didn’t.

This is precisely what the picture is in Tokyo right now, and really, around the rest of the world.

The Olympic Games of 2020 just cannot happen this summer. It is a reality. It is a chilling fact none of us want to hear. But it is the reality.

Canada and Australia were the first to accept that reality in the last few days, announcing that they were pulling out of the Olympic Games even if they actually did happen this year.

It led to the confusion of Monday. First, Dick Pound, a Canadian who is a member of the International Olympic Committee, told USA Today that the Olympics were off to 2021. This was news to Anita DeFrantz, an American who is an IOC vice president. Later in the day, Pound retreated quickly said he “believes” the Olympics will be postponed.

There are kinds of dilemmas to bring up here.

Is it really going to be safe globally in just a few months?

I would say, no.

Are the athletes going to be ready?

I would say, no.

And what of the many Olympic qualifying competitions still to be held all over the world? In addition to the many events canceled in March, the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in wrestling and swimming are already off with no rescheduled date yet set. Several global federations have called off competitions into late May.

Alpine skiing canceled its World Cup finals. Other winter sports teams shuffled plans quickly to get their athletes home.

Chris Mazdzer, a three-time Olympic luger from Saranac Lake, found his way back to the North Country on a long road trip after undergoing elbow surgery in Salt Lake City.

“I am worried, and all I know is that our lives are going to be changed in the short term dramatically,” Mazdzer wrote in a post on his Instagram account last week. “How we interact, travel and work are all going to be affected. But instead of inducing panic or failing to admit that we even have a very serious problem, I think it’s important we try to take care of our friends and families and have that hard conversation with them regarding, What do we do if this gets worse?”

Well said, Chris.

The Olympics, for many, is one of those hard conversations. Postponing the games may prevent something really bad from getting worse, even if July arrives and things may not look so bad anymore. That would be a great day.

The word of no Olympics 2020 quickly spread through social media Monday because, well, it’s not like we can talk about it in the local coffee shop now.

“Although I am upset that the Olympics will not be happening this year, I agree that this is the best decision in order to keep the athletes and spectators healthy and to prevent the virus from spreading further,” said U.S. gymnast Morgan Hurd, a world champion and Olympic Team hopeful, on her Twitter account Monday.

So imagine if those Olympic Games were coming to Lake Placid.

And then they didn’t.

How sad this day would be. But perhaps it would also be a day of building. This is where everybody gets together, leaps over the barrier and focuses on the finish line at the very end. This is a marathon, folks. And we need to help each other reach the finish line.

Having lived less than one week in the North Country, I already see that determination every day.


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