Athletes Who Qualified for 2020 Olympics Will Compete in 2021, IOC Says

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are in shambles as a result of the worldwide pandemic, with sponsors and athletes rushing to compromise with IOC officials ahead of the 2021 games.

After the Olympics were postponed for the fourth time ever due to the global spread of COVID-19, so much remained up in the air for so many people. Countless advertisers and investors, promoters, athletes, coaches, and fans around the world were all left wondering when, where, and how the Olympics would finally happen. The IOC announced Friday that all athletes who had already qualified to play in the 2020 Olympics would have their places honored at the new 2021 event.

One question that was on the minds of many was what would happen to the athletes who worked hard to qualify for the Games. Many of them have trained for years, some their entire lives, to secure a spot on their country’s Olympic team. However, with the Games delayed yet another year, it begs the question – how many of them will still be in Olympic-shape by the new 2021 date? Will they have to re-apply to compete?

Thankfully, the IOC came down on the side of the athletes in this decision. IOC officials confirmed on Friday that all 11,000 of the athletes slated to compete at the Games will still be able to compete in 2021 and there will be no re-qualification process barring participation.

“The 57% that are qualified do remain in place and the goal is to maintain the same athletes quotas across the different sports,” an IOC official said.

Not all of the spots had been filled by the time the organizers pulled the plug on the event, however, so that gives athletes who weren’t able to make the cut the first time around a lucky second chance at getting on an Olympic team. The IOC released figures showing that around 57% of the slots have been filled, so there’s still thousands of athletes who could potentially qualify for next year’s games. However, how that process will shake down is still unknown. Many of the games and events that would present people with an opportunity to qualify for the games have, obviously, also been cancelled.

The IOC has updated their Instagram with supportive posts from around the world. Although understandably frustrated, many athletes are raising their voices to support the necessary social distancing that will help protect vulnerable members of our society from a dangerous threat.

“Fitness to me is about taking your power back,” said Kaillie Humphries. “In these times more than ever there is a lot we can’t control. Instead of focusing on the negative I’m using my body so it produces endorphins and I can face the remained of each day with happiness and more clarity.”

It’s a disappointing but necessary step to be taken for health and safety. It’s good to see the IOC putting their athletes first and honoring all the blood, sweat, and tears they poured into qualifying for the games. Although there are many steps to be taken ahead, this is a promising start to what will hopefully be a very exciting 2021 Olympics!


*All images and media courtesy of Instagram.

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