The International Olympic Committee announced on March 23 that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games had been rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was made following several nations revealing that they would not be attending due to health and safety concerns. The Olympic Games have been pushed to 2021, but World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe isn't ready to say that they will actually be held.
The soccer star recently appeared on David Axelrod's The Axe Files podcast and discussed the cancellation. She explained during Monday's episode that there is a scenario in which the 2021 Olympics do not take place. There are many factors in play surrounding the coronavirus, including whether or not a vaccine will be created. At this point, she doesn't know if it's feasible to hold the upcoming Games.
"Frankly, I think the Olympics are in doubt next year," Rapinoe said. "The more I think about it logistically, just bringing everybody together like that with the absence of drug therapies or anything like that just seems difficult. Certainly, you want to be able to go out the way that you want to and not sort of be pushed out by a pandemic."
Rapinoe also mentioned that both her and her girlfriend, WNBA player and Olympian Sue Bird have hopes of competing again. This was likely their last Olympic Games as competitors, but a second cancellation could bring about the end of their time in the Olympics without a farewell tour. This wouldn't be an ideal situation, but Rapinoe believes that they will be at peace with whatever happens.
"If it happens that, you know, we can't play sports for or a number of years or whatever it may be, you know, this situation will be what it is," she continued. "And I think we'll be at peace with that. But I think we're definitely both hoping to be able to play in the Olympics."
The rescheduled Olympics are set to begin on July 23, 2021, but that is not guaranteed. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state emergency in April, which led to Tokyo organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto hinting that the games could be in trouble for next year. He said that "anyone would be able to say" if it's possible to get the coronavirus under control by next July.
According to Muto, all the IOC can do at this point is to work hard to prepare for the 2021 Olympic Games. He sincerely hopes that the athletes will be able to compete and that the coronavirus will be defeated through treatments and vaccines. He believes that the new dates provide the maximum amount of time in order to achieve this goal.