To no surprise, many people — myself included — were crushed to hear that the Olympics were postponed. I remember watching the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games and seeing the ceremony introducing the Tokyo Olympics logo at the end. I was so excited for this year to host another great lineup of legendary athletes. Since this is my last column of the semester, I thought it would be a good idea to reintroduce points I’ve brought up in previous columns to focus on what we can all learn from the postponement. But as I kept seeing news of the coronavirus spreading to Japan and then the United States, I knew it was an inevitable fate: On March 24, the world received the news that the Olympics would officially be postponed, if not canceled. The Olympics has a long-standing tradition dating back to the ancient eighth century BCE. The modern Olympic Games date back to the 1896 Olympics in Athens. Since the modern Games’ inception in the 19th century, however, the last time the Olympics were canceled or postponed was in 1944 due to World War II. The rarity of such a drastic occurrence from even happening in the first place shows how serious this year’s postponement really is. It has become a tradition for people to get excited about the largest sporting event in the world every four years. People intentionally took two weeks out of their summer to watch sprinter Usain Bolt beat record after record and see swimmer Michael Phelps become the all-time Olympic medal-holder. Since my column was purely based on an event that would no longer be happening in the upcoming months, I was at a crossroads — conflicted about what more there would be to write about — but I ultimately chose to focus on the International Olympic Committee’s postponement decision and some of my favorite Olympic moments. Unlike the other topics my colleagues at the Daily Trojan write about, I thought mine would only be relevant every other year. And even then, the premises would be different, as each Winter and Summer Olympics has its own set of storylines attached. The IOC made the right decision in moving the Olympics. The health of fans and athletes should take precedence over anything, and I am glad the IOC realized that. Moments like these are what make sports special and what make the Olympics unique unlike anything else. People live for Olympic moments because that is what sports does: It creates a community and mutual appreciation for fans and athletes alike. Nathan Hyun is a sophomore writing about the 2020 Olympics. His column, “Going for the Gold,” typically ran every other Wednesday. In January, when I was thinking about my column topic for the upcoming semester, I was debating between various ideas. I considered focusing on young athletes in professional leagues to highlight a sports year with drastic changes to league rules and playoff formats. But when I realized that this was supposed to be a Summer Olympics year, I knew I wanted to write about my thoughts on the 2020 Olympics and the Games in general. As disappointed as I was, the decision made me realize just how obsessive and dedicated people like myself can get when it comes to sports. People care so much about sports that it can consume their lives. But there is so much more to a person’s happiness than winning. Isn’t the health and well-being of your friends and family more important than cheering on a last-second push to the finish line? Postponing the Olympics may have led many people to feel distraught and frustrated, but there comes a time when the cliche “it’s just a game” really starts to present itself in people’s lives. I hope this makes all sports fans realize the importance of putting health and safety above all else. Then, when it is the right time for the Olympics to return, sports will bring everyone together again. Since then, the Olympics has grown to host 33 sports and more than 11,000 athletes. This was not a cancellation; rather, it was a mere postponement to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone involved with the Olympics. At first, I didn’t know how to react — well past the trivial concern for my column, I was concerned for the millions of fans who had already bought tickets and hotel reservations, for the more than 6,000 athletes who had qualified, for the millions of Summer Olympics enthusiasts who have waited impatiently for four years to witness what is arguably the most important and prestigious sporting event. That is why the Olympics are so legendary. Not only because the best athletes from around the world gather to compete, but because it brings together entire generations and people from more than 200 countries to strive for the same goal: Going for Gold. As the days passed, the IOC released its decision to move the Games to 2021. The logo would remain the same, and the athletes who had already qualified would still be able to compete.
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