Scaled-down Olympics receives JOA support
PRESIDENT OF the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), Christopher Samuda, is in full support of a scaled-down version of the Olympic Games once the coronavirus crisis is not brought under control ahead of next year’s Tokyo instalment.
The 2020 Olympic Games was scheduled to take place in Japan this summer, but the current coronavirus pandemic has forced the postponement of the Games to 2021.
As a result, the Japanese officials are contemplating reducing the Games, with fewer spectators allowed and quarantine requirements for athletes and officials.
“If the circumstances dictate that we should have a scaled-down version of the Games in the interest of safety, health and welfare of the athletes, then the JOA must support that or stand responsibly,” Samuda told The Gleaner.
“The governing consideration must be the health of our athletes, and if there is any risk to that, we must support any measure that will safeguard the welfare of our athletes,” he added.
“We all have to live in the new dispensation, which will be a scaled-down Games. The numbers will have to be crunched quite sensibly in order to have the best Games, without destroying it. So the safety and welfare must be governed by (the Japanese) government, and those considerations must be applied without killing the spirit of the Games,” Samuda said.
He says a scaled-down Games would also mean that the gloss around the Olympics would be lost.
“This will no doubt affect the ethos of the Games, fan-based support and, certainly, revenue generation. The Games will not be the grand spectacle that we have grown accustomed to.
“But we just have to rework the programme in the new paradigm. The International Olympic Committee (IOC), the National Olympic Committees, the media; all have a role to play in preserving for our youth and next generation of athletes this opportunity, which the Olympic Games allow them to excel and be the finest version of themselves,” Samuda added.
Some experts have estimated that the Games could overrun its original budget by up to US$6 billion, but Samuda believes the IOC has the financial muscle to cushion such a financial fallout.
“The IOC indicated that there are consequential losses, but I would imagine there are sufficient (financial) reserves that will perhaps cushion it,” Samuda stated. “But they are going to have to become very creative going forward in ensuring that there is revenue generation in order to fill that gap, but I am sure they will work out the method where that is concerned.
“We are going to have to curtail our own organisation at the Games to ensure we comply with the regulations and protocols. A scaled-down Games would affect numbers, so we would make adjustment. But if you don’t have a large contingent, then you are not going to have to spend as you normally do, so it won’t adversely affect us. But even if we have to cut back the expense, it will not be as great as in the past,” Samuda said.
In this March 30, 2020 file photo, the Olympic rings are seen in Tokyo. The Tokyo Olympics will open next year in the same time slot previously scheduled for this year’s Games.