The postponing of the Olympics shows how serious COVID-19 is

The postponing of the Olympics shows how serious COVID-19 is

The summer Olympics will be postponed because of COVID-19, according to news reports, a decision that follows similar decisions in professional and amateur sports around the world as officials try to stem the spread of the new coronavirus.

The NBA season has been postponed. The baseball season never started, and the NCAA basketball tournament was called off, all highlighting the seriousness of the need for social distancing to fight COVID-19.

The Olympic move is no doubt a big disappointment for athletes, coaches, trainers and fans across the globe. Dr. Brian Cunningham, a physical therapist based at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital was set to work as the USA swimming team’s lead physical therapist at the games. But he says he knows this decision is for the best as people worldwide are asked to practice social distancing to try to get COVID-19 under control.

“There’s nothing more important than the health and safety of the athletes, visitors and everyone else involved in the Olympics,” Cunningham said. “We’ve got to make sure everyone is healthy.”

He says that besides the danger of spreading COVID-19 at the Olympics, the coronavirus threat also puts in question whether athletes can get the necessary training in to be at their best.

“When top athletes compete against each other, they want everyone to be at their best,” Cunningham says.

Cunningham has worked with the Olympic swimming team before, but this year in Tokyo would have his first trip to the games as part of the team. It’s disappointing for him, and for all the athletes who have trained so hard to go. Still, he says the public health decision was for the best.

“When the games are eventually held, we’ll be ready,” he says.

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Mike Riopell
Mike Riopell

Mike Riopell, health enews contributor, is a media relations coordinator with Advocate Aurora Health. He previously worked as a reporter and editor covering politics and government for the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and Bloomington Pantagraph, among others. He enjoys bicycles, home repair, flannel shirts and being outside.