Lessons from three cyclists affected by the 1980 boycott for the COVID-19 era
This episode is a rebroadcast of our look at the 1980 Olympic boycott. It happened 40 years ago, but contains some lessons for what athletes are facing today. On this day, BMX competition was originally scheduled to begin in Tokyo. But in March, as rising COVID-19 cases sent nations scrambling, the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee announced that Canadians would not go to the 2020 Games. Two days later, the IOC said it would postpone the 2020 Olympics for a year.
Recently, as we passed the one-year-to-go-until-the-rescheduled-Olympics date, talk of cancelling the 2021 Games started up. On July 22, the president of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee Yoshiro Mori said to Japanese media that if the pandemic continued has it had been so far, the Games could not go ahead in 2021. A few days before that, the Kyodo news agency released the results of a poll that showed that only 23.9 per cent of the people surveyed throughout Japan thought the Olympics should be held. A segment as large as 36.4 per cent thought the Games should be postponed again. From the survey, 33.7 per cent said the Games should be cancelled.
With the threat of Olympic cancellation creeping in once again, let’s listen to track cyclists Gordon Singleton and Steve Bauer, and road cyclist Louis Garneau as they discuss the time, 40 years ago, that the Olympics didn’t happen for Canadian athletes.