Impact and meaning of the postponement of Tokyo 2020 from an athlete perspective

Main Article Content

Isadora Cerullo

Abstract

Rescheduling the Olympic Games was an unprecedented decision, justified by the rapid contagion of a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and the need to prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of all people expected to attend the Games. The group arguably most affected by this decision is the group that is at the heart of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement: the athletes. The postponement of Tokyo 2020 generated uncertainty for athletes, as well as their support networks, something even more intensely experienced by athletes who are still in the qualification process. In all, this unprecedented disruption to athlete’s routines and daily expectations leads to feelings of loss of control and stress. The manner in which athletes cope effectively with change-events plays a significant role in their performance and even the longevity of their athletic careers. This paper explores the complexities of some of the expectations athletes have had to redefine, as well as the impact of this process in itself, from an athlete’s perspective. 

Article Details

Section
Special issue - Tokyo Olympic Games: postponement or cancellation?

References

1 IOC. IOC, PIC, Tokyo 2020 organising committee and Tokyo metropolitan government announce new dates for the Olympic and Paralympic games Tokyo 2020 [cited 30 Mar 2020]. Available at: https://bit.ly/37qzybi.
2 IOC. IOC president: ‘it will require everybody’s efforts to make these games a symbol of hope’ [cited 25 Mar 2020]. Available at: https://www.olympic.org/news/ioc-president-it-will-require-everybody-s-efforts-to-make-these-games-a-symbol-of-hope.
3 IOC. IOC president: ‘the olympic flame can become the light at the end of this dark tunnel’ [cited 24 Mar 2020]. Available at: https://www.olympic.org/news/ioc-president-the-olympic-flame-can-become-the-light-at-the-end-of-this-dark-tunnel.
4 Debois N, Ledon A, Argiolas C, Rosnet E. A lifespan perspective on transitions during a top sports career: A case of an elite female fencer. Psychology of Sport and Exercise. 2012;13(5): 660-668.
5 Jackson SA, Dover J, Mayocchi L. Life after winning gold: I. Experiences of Australian Olympic gold medallists. The Sport Psychologist. 1998;12(2): 119-136.
6 Wylleman P, Reints A, Van Aken S. Athletes' perceptions of multilevel changes related to competing at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Psychology of sport and exercise 2012;13(5): 687-692.
10 Stambulova NB. Crisis-transitions in athletes: Current emphases on cognitive and contextual factors. Current opinion in psychology. 2017;16: 62-66.
11 Samuel RD, Tenenbaum G. How do athletes perceive and respond to change-events: An exploratory measurement tool. Psychology of Sport and Exercise. 2011;12(4): 392-406.
14 Samuel RD, Tenenbaum G, Bar-Mecher HG. The Olympic Games as a career change-event: Israeli athletes' and coaches' perceptions of London 2012. Psychology of Sport and Exercise. 2016;24: 38-47.
15 Reardon CL, Hainline B, Aron CM. International olympic committee consensus statement on mental health in elite athletes. Br J Sports Med. 2019;53: 667–699.