EUGENE, Ore. -- Never before have the Olympic Games been postponed or canceled for something other than war, but rarely has the world come to a paralyzing halt the way it has over the coronavirus.
The shocking, yet inevitable and appropriate decision came this morning to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. It now leaves Oregonians wondering what will happen with the Olympic Trials that are set to take place in the beginning of June.
“TrackTown USA is now working with our partners at USA Track & Field and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee on rescheduling the U.S. Olympic Team Trials,” said TrackTown USA CEO Michael Reilly. “Although it is not yet clear how long it may take to finalize a new date for the event, our Local Organizing Committee stands ready to welcome the best athletes in the country to the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field once a decision is reached.”
That kind of decision has a greater impact than people know. Not only will the athletes not get an opportunity to compete for what they’ve worked so long for, but local businesses will face cash flow issues and won’t see that economic boost the Olympic Trials would have brought.
“It has a significant financial impact of about $37 million for our regional economy,” said President and CEO of Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce Brittany Quick-Warner. “So postponing the trials is going to have an impact on our local businesses. But we are here and we are ready to support our local organizing committee for a hopeful rescheduling of that event.”
According to the International Olympic Committee, more than 6,000 athletes from around the world had already qualified for the Games. Thousands more were still hoping to clinch a spot at Hayward Field in the coming months. Those athletes will have to wait longer for an opportunity to represent the U.S. overseas.
From an economic perspective, local businesses now have to prepare for a summer without any extra economic upsurge.
“I mean it changes everything,” said general manager of Agate Alley Bistro. “When we look at this field that is being built, it’s going to take a huge toll on our outcome. I mean everything else that was scheduled to happen like graduation. That’s a huge hit too and that’s probably the busiest time of the year for businesses in this neighborhood and around the campus.”