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How the 2021 Olympics could impact other events

With Olympics postponed until some time in 2021, how will other running events be affected next year?

It’s official—the Olympics will not go ahead this summer, or anytime in 2020. Instead, the IOC announced that the Games (which will still be labelled as Tokyo 2020) will be held at some point in the first half of 2021, but not later than the summer. With a window from spring through summer of 2021 for the Olympics, many other events also slated for 2021 could be affected. 

Tokyo Spring Games

Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has said the Tokyo Olympics could very well go on earlier than next summer, as reported by Reuters. A spring Olympics in April or May would have a major impact on some of the world’s biggest marathons—specifically in Boston and London, which are both run in mid to late April. 

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If the Olympics are rescheduled for the spring, the fields in Boston and London—which always feature some of the best marathoners in the world—will likely take a hit as the Olympians focus on Tokyo. Whether Tokyo is moved just before, during or just after the 2021 spring marathon season, most of the usual big names will probably be preparing for, racing in or recovering from the Tokyo event.

A spring Olympics wouldn’t be all bad, though. It would be good news for athletes who didn’t qualify for their Olympic teams who are looking for a breakout race. With the Olympians out of Boston, London and other marathons, these other runners would have a chance to get their first big wins.

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2021 Summer Games

If the Olympics are rescheduled for next summer, that would conflict with the 2021 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Ore., which are set for August 6 to 15. World Athletics released a statement following the IOC’s postponement of Tokyo 2020, and it touched on the fate of the Eugene event.

Photo: Twitter/Saudi24N

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World Athletics and the Oregon 2021 organizing committee have agreed to work with the IOC and reschedule the world championships accordingly, even as late as summer 2022.