Breaking barriers and setting records, the LGBTQ community made a monumental stride towards inclusivity in sports; however, an unexpected adversary had alternate plans.
In an unprecedented achievement, 100 LGBTQ athletes were thrilled to secure their spots for the Summer Olympics. The stage was set in Tokyo, Japan's vibrant capital, from July 24 to August 9, 2020. These athletes were prepared to not only represent their respective nations, but also our community, challenging their own boundaries in the pursuit of a medal. However, the onset of the coronavirus pandemic dramatically altered these plans.
With the spread of the epidemic and the lockdown that we are all undergoing around the world, it is clear that the athletes who were expected to compete in the Olympics cannot train properly.
We also don’t know when this epidemic will end and what measures will be taken to break the lockdown out. All we know is that it will take time.
Besides the training of these athletes, there is also the notion of equity between them that cannot be respected. The epidemic did not start on the same date for all, so they won’t be all ready to compete at the same time.
Many sporting events have already been postponed, such as the European soccer championship or the tennis tournaments Roland Garros in France and more recently Wimbledon in the United Kingdom.
Two weeks ago we were wondering about the summer Olympics in Tokyo when I introduced lesbian rower Kyra Edwards.
At that time, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the organizers of the Olympics, had not postponed the games yet, opting to wait instead. A week later, they reversed their decision and announced that the Summer Olympics would take place next year, between July 23 and August 8, 2021.
It was the right decision, and I think many athletes are relieved. It must be said that most of them are not thinking competitively at the moment and we can only understand them.
“It is fantastic news that we could find new dates so quickly for the Tokyo 2020 Games,” said Andrew Parsons, the President of the International Paralympic Committee. “The new dates provide certainty for the athletes, reassurance for the stakeholders and something to look forward to for the whole world.”
The Paralympic Games have also been postponed and will now take place from August 24 to September 5, 2021.
“When the Paralympic Games do take place in Tokyo next year, they will be an extra-special display of humanity uniting as one, a global celebration of human resilience and a sensational showcase of sport,” Parsons added.
So I will continue to introduce you to these LGBTQ female athletes who will represent our rainbow flag.