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The XXII Olympiad, Tokyo 2021 in Suspended Animation

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Probably the biggest sporting disappointment for 2020, has been the postponement of the Games of the XXII Olympiad booked for the city of Tokyo in Japan. The games, like many pre-planned sporting events was inevitably postponed due to the global pandemic, Covid 19.

Even still, months later in the outbreak the eventual likelihood of the games going ahead, hangs precariously in the balance as the world has yet to emerge from the outbreak of Covid 19, which does not sit well with hosts Japan. This ‘temporary shelving’ of the games amidst the Covid 19 outbreak has thrown a sharp and an unexpected corner for some to navigate. There are those intending and are still optimistic about the games being held, and to use the biggest stage of world athletics as the backdrop to the final chapter of their respective athletic careers. Two such are Yohan Blake and Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, but they too like many athletes and sports fan will have to wait another year for the Olympic games.

This ‘rescheduling’, of the games have left many athletic fans disappointed, yet relieved as nothing can be taken for granted particularly in relation to the virus.  With many epidemiologists still contending with the unpredictable and unravelling nature of the covid 19 virus, with respect to its effects, side-effects and probable impact on those competing at the games, so postponement was indeed inevitable.

The games, had they been held this year, had the likelihood for a few fascinating match-ups which are probably still are on the books, particularly in the women’s sprints.

The women’s blue-ribbon event, the 100 metres could and may still be one for the record books. With the defending women’s 100 and 200 metres Olympic champion, Elaine Thompson down to defend her 100m Olympic title against her fellow country woman Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce, who happens to be the 5-time 100m world champion among others. Should Fraser-Pryce triumph as victor, it would be a historic feat.

On that night of the finals in Tokyo, should Fraser-Pryce and Thompson, having successfully progressing through the rounds and both in peak form and with other strong contenders, the two could threaten or lower the Jamaican national record for the event. This showdown is one reason fans are hopeful the games are kept next year, all things being equal.

In the women’s 200 metres, Thompson will again be in the pressure cooker this time to defend her 200m Olympic crown. With the Bahamian speedster Shaune Miller-Ubio, having decided to contest the 200m, a battle will definitely ensue. I dare to say, with the defending 400m Olympic champion Miller-Uibo skipping her event to contest the 200m this but a declaration of war. Let us not also forget, Daphne Schippers and the English woman Dina Asher-Smith are two other podium contenders who should also be keenly watched. This race is yet another hot prospect for some quick times. All things being equal, the time to win this event will be well under 22 seconds.

The double sprint champion, may need to extinguish the current Jamaican national record for the women’s 100 metres of 10:70 s to successfully defend titles in Tokyo. Breaking the 100m record should put her well on her way to successfully defending her 200m crown.

Should Thompson successful defend both her 100m and 200m titles in Tokyo, legendary status would be attributed. Those victories would cement Thompson’s place as one of the all-time women’s sprinting greats and 2021 being a big year for her.

The women’s 400m, based on possible contenders is yet another interesting prospect. With the absence of Shaune and possibly the absence of Salwa Eid Naser from the games, Sherica Jackson should be among the top contenders for the 400 metres crown. This race is possibly the most open for anyone of the finalists on the night to claim the title of Olympic champion for the event.

Fans remain hopeful that these match-ups occur and live up to both the hype and the true potential of these talented athletes.  Nevertheless, all this is contingent on the control of the corona virus world wide in time for the Olympic games in 2021.

 

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