Japan had to agree to an unprecedented one year postponement from the initial insistence that the Olympics would be held on the originally stipulated dates with the usual pomp and pageantry. So now with the Covid-19 pandemic unlikely to depart early, the organisers have acknowledged that if they are cut down to keep expenses so safety risks in place, the only way the Games will be played in 2021 will be. This dream of a “simplified” Olympics – to use Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike ‘s term – entails ending the one-year countdown to the revamped Games, set for July 23 to August 8 next year, watering down the opening and closing ceremonies.
The organizers plan to check every fan, athlete, coach, and official . Additionally, the movement of everyone participating in the Games is likely to be considerably limited, in whatever capacity. Both these steps are even more important when the International Olympic Committee has announced that the Olympics will not be delayed again, but will be canceled if they will not take place next year in July-August.
he ongoing pandemic is considered the world’s greatest societal threat since the Second World War. In the wake of which, the London Games of 1948—and sports — helped the world bounce back, that also played a role in morale-boosting. One key difference is that Tokyo had already made arrangements for a grand edition of the Games, and will now have to scale them down, but when the world recovered from the war, London 1948 could not afford the expenditure. Many parts of London still sport a dilapidated look from the bombings. There had been a shortage of certain supplies and the tight rationing for residents for the everyday necessities. In contrast to the Games Village set up at Tokyo Bay, the male athletes in 1948 were housed at Royal Air Force camps while the women stayed at colleges.
As The Guardian writes: “Not only was there no new Olympic stadium, there was no new velodrome, aquatics centre or handball arena either. Nor was there a purpose-built Olympic village… The organisers laid on bedding but asked contestants to bring their own towels.”
By throwing 800 tons of cinders over the greyhound course, they have turned Wembley into an athletics venue.No wonder they were called the ‘Austerity Games’ instead of the 1948 Olympics.It was tough for even British athletes to get the food that were considered essential in their sports for maximum results, which could explain the meagre haul of three gold, 14 silver and six bronze medals in the host country. There were also teams who carried their own food to the Tournaments.
Yet today the Games are remembered for the achievements of likes of Fanny Blankers-Koen, the 30-year-old Dutch mother of two, who won four gold medals, and Emil Zatopek, of Czechoslovakia, who took home the 10,000 m win.
To India, playing for the first time as a free nation at the Olympics, the highlight was its fourth consecutive hockey gold medal – that too beating Britain, its former rulers, in their own backyard.
But the Games — featuring 59 countries, with defeated powers Japan and Germany, kept out and the Soviet Union declining to participate — also brought people some relief amid their post-war struggles. The Guardian writes that the 1948 Olympics even managed a profit of almost £30,000, something unthinkable in the present age of ballooning budgets.
Today, the world is much more interconnected than it was in 1948. If the 2021 Olympics do take place, it will not be just about the sporting achievements. As Emil Zatopek had said at the end of the 1948 Games: “After all those dark days – the bombing, the killing, the starvation – the revival of the Olympic Games was as if the sun had come out… Suddenly there were no frontiers, no more barriers, just the people meeting together.”