Did you know the Olympics had to be called off thrice?

Did you know the Olympics had to be called off thrice in the past?

This is the first time the Olympics has been postponed due to a pandemic

Representative Image. Credit: Pixabay

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games had to be postponed last year, leaving fans disappointed.

The biggest sporting event is now set to take place from July 23, and almost $15.4 billion have been invested in it. The event is expected to have 11,090 athletes and 10,000 spectators in each venue adhering to the Covid-19 restrictions.

However, experts are advising to postpone or cancel the game again in this freshly-recovered state from a surge in Covid-19 cases due to its low vaccination rate as compared to other countries.

This is the first time the Olympics is postponed due to a pandemic. However, the Olympics was cancelled three times before due to the World Wars.

Read | A month before the Olympics, how is Japan faring with Covid?

Here are the details:

1916 Summer Olympics, Berlin

The World War I begun in 1914, but the German Empire had started its preparations for the 1916 Olympics as no one expected the war to last so long.

A facility called ‘Deutsches Stadion’ was created for the international sporting event and inaugurated in 1913. Alexandria, Amsterdam, Cleveland, Budapest and Brussels put their bid into the 1916 Olympics. Unfortunately, the game was cancelled as the World War lasted till 1918.

After 20 years, Germany again got a chance to host the Olympics but under the Nazi flag. That year, the Olympics was remembered for promoting the Nazi regime.
1940 Summer and Winter Olympics, Japan

For the first time, both the Summer and Winter Olympics were set to take place in one country. Not just that, Japan became the first non-Western country to host the Olympics ever. While Tokyo was chosen for the summer games, Sapporo was responsible for the winter one.

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However, the Olympics of many ‘firsts’ could never take place as Japan forfeited its rights in the 1937 Sino-Japanese war. The game was initially rescheduled for the same year at Helsinki, Finland for the summer and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany for the winter. But it later was cancelled in 1939, when Hitler started the World War II by invading Poland.

1944 Summer and Winter Olympics, London and Cortina d’Ampezzo

London and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy were responsible for the 1944 summer and winter Olympics, respectively. It was decided before the World War II had begun.

However, by 1944, the World War II was intense and the Olympics was called off. Later, London got an opportunity to host the 1948 games, but the country banned the participation of German and Japanese athletes.

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Other instances when the Olympics was almost called off

The 2016 Olympics, hosted by Rio, was almost called off due to the Zika virus. A group of 150 health authorities, scientists and bioethicists wrote a letter to World Health Organisation (WHO) to postpone or move the Rio Olympics over concerns of the Zika virus spreading to foreign visitors. However, the WHO replied by saying, “the best way to reduce risk of disease is to follow public health and travel advice.”

In another instance, during a terror attack in Munich, the officials continued the 1972 Olympics after a two-day suspension.

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