The approach of summer means it’s nearing the time for the 2020 Summer Olympics. Yes, you read that right. After the unexpected rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Summer Olympics were pushed back to 2021 on March 24, 2020, if circumstances permitted live sports. The games are slated to begin on Friday, July 23, and end on Sunday, August 8. Recently there has been a large increase in COVID-19 cases in Tokyo, where the games are set to take place. Seiko Hashimoto, the president of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee, made a statement expressing the desire to continue forward with the games despite COVID-19 concerns. “We’re not thinking of canceling the Olympics,” Hashimoto said. “We will continue to do what we can to implement a thorough safety regimen.” 

 

The 2020 Summer Olympics has a deeper meaning to the city of Tokyo and the country of Japan than just the honor of hosting the prestigious international sporting event. After a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami in 2011 caused the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the country has experienced a persistent economic downturn. If the Olympics had occurred in 2020 as expected, Japan would have likely seen a dramatic boost to their economy as tourists flocked to watch the games. The pandemic, however, forced the Japanese economy and society to shutter. COVID-19 has impacted many economies around the world, including Japan, which has thrown the host country into another year of economic hardship when an economic boost was expected. Now, foreign fans are not expected to be allowed at the games as the Japanese government continues to determine the best ways to keep athletes safe while moving forward with the events. 

 

If the 2020 Summer Olympics do move forward there are two main competitors that viewers from Montana should keep an eye on. Nick Mowrer and Alison Weisz are both Montanans representing the United States in their respective shooting events. Mowrer is from Butte and Weisz is from Belgrade. Mowrer’s main discipline is pistol shooting and she will compete in the Air Pistol event, while Weisz is focused on rifle shooting and will participate in the Air Rifle event. Both have competed in the 2018 World Championship and Mowrer participated in the 2012 London Summer Olympics, where he finished in 15th. To find more information on Mowrer, Weisz or any other Olympian, readers can find information on teamusa.org

A further delay in the 2020 Olympic Games would have future ramifications because of the high probability that future games, 2024 and 2028, would be pushed back. The U.S. is slated to host the Summer Olympics in 2028 in Los Angeles, the first time the Games will take place on U.S. soil since Atlanta hosted in 1996. Here’s to hoping that the 2020 Games can occur without a hitch and all athletes will be able to participate while remaining safe and healthy.