It doesn’t appear to be business as usual for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, as the threat of a coronavirus outbreak has organizers scrambling. The threat is so serious that a decision to cancel, postpone or move the Olympics to a different location is gaining major steam according to oddsmakers.
After an Associated Press interview of Dick Pound, who is a senior member of the International Olympic Committee, online sportsbook Bovada has moved the odds to -260 that the 2020 Olympics may not happen at all, with the odds of the Games going ahead as planned beginning on July 24 set at +175.
In his interview with AP, Pound made it clear that if it proves too dangerous to hold the Games in Tokyo due to the outbreak, they will cancel the Olympics altogether rather than postpone the event or move it to a different venue.
Odds as of February 26 at Bovada
Other Sports Affected By Coronavirus Outbreaks
It isn’t just the 2020 Olympics being impacted by the scare of the coronavirus outbreak. It’s already had an effect on Serie A soccer matches in northern Italy with four games canceled and future matches set to be played behind closed doors without fans in the arena.
Other international events that were set to be held in China have also taken a hit due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Chinese Grand Prix that was scheduled for April 19 in Shanghai has been postponed with no rescheduled date, while the World Athletic Indoor Championships set for mid-March in Nanjing will be postponed until 2021.
This isn’t just isolated to Italy and China either, with South Korea needing to push back the World Table Tennis Championship until late June. It seems like this is just the tip of the iceberg of sports having to adjust in the landscape of a potential pandemic.
Has A Summer Olympics Ever Been Canceled?
A Summer Olympics has never in the history of the Games been canceled due to health concerns such as the Zika virus or coronavirus. However, there were some athletes eligible to compete in Brazil in 2016 who refused to participate due to the Zika outbreak and poor water quality.
The 1916 Berlin Olympics were canceled during the First World War and the 1940 Tokyo Games and 1944 London Olympics during the Second World War. Since 1948, each Olympic Games has gone on as planned.
The IOC will likely continue to work with the World Health Organization in the coming months to determine if the risks can be sufficiently minimized so athletes feel safe to compete. At this stage, it’s hard to envision these Games in Tokyo going forward with nearly 80,000 people affected globally by the coronavirus and those numbers growing daily.
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