471 days 8 hours 29 minutes 59 seconds

Athletes who spent years preparing to hit their very peak for the now-postponed Tokyo Olympics are left wondering how to cope for the next 15 months

Four hundred and seventy-one days. That’s the number on the countdown clock for the Tokyo Summer Olympics. About seven times as long as Cristopher Columbus’s voyage to America. Or the length of almost 9,700 field hockey games. That’s how long Olympics-bound athletes must get through without getting injured. Or losing focus. For those who haven’t qualified yet, that’s how long they must stay motivated as well. 

What they do in the next 471 days will determine not only their destiny at the Games but also their future. The next 15 or so months will decide how they are remembered in the annals of history. Getting through is easier said than done.

On 24 March, after several countries said they would not participate if the Tokyo Games went ahead as per schedule, the International Olympic Committee decided to postpone the Games till July 2021. The Games have never been postponed. The Summer Olympics have only been cancelled three times due to World Wars.

Preparations for the Tokyo Games have cost Japan about $30 billion till now. The economic loss due to the postponement is pegged at $5.7 billion, which will reduce Japan’s GDP growth by 1.4 percentage points.

And yet, the most significant impact will be on athletes who have put their lives on hold for the Games, whose blinkers were in place. The postponement can hurt athletes—who were peaking and raring to go—the most.

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Lead image by Viktar Masalovich from Pixabay

Illustration by cdd20 from Pixabay


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