Our fears have become reality as the spread of COVID-19 has forced the IOC and Japanese organizers to postpone the Tokyo Olympics by a year. This was a decision unique in Olympic history. The Games are now scheduled to take place from 23rd July to 8th August 2021.
Unfortunately, while the pandemic has eased somewhat, the first wave is not yet over, and people are already concerned about the dangers of a second. Nevertheless, it would be pure speculation to suggest that the Olympic Games might yet be completely cancelled.
More objectivity would help. Dr. Bill Mallon, a founding member of the International Society of Olympic Historians, will look back to the example of Berlin 1916, when the Games were cancelled because of the World War 1. There were few who imagined that the next Olympics would take place in 1920, only two years after the armistice. It was virtually a miracle that Belgium, the nation which had suffered most, agreed to be the host. The 1920 Games in Antwerp add resonance because they were also overshadowed by a pandemic that claimed more lives than the First World War. And still, the Games went ahead. This should encourage us as we take on and cope with an epochal challenge such as the coronavirus crisis.
The 100th anniversary of those Games is a perfect time to have Dr. Mallon share the history of the Olympics and his unique stories gathered over 40 plus years of attending and chronicling the games.
Dr. William James Mallon is an American orthopedic surgeon, former professional golfer and a leading authority on the history of the Olympic Games.
Mallon played on the PGA Tour from 1976–79, posting three top-10 finishes. After leaving the PGA Tour he returned to Duke University to study medicine graduating as an M.D. in 1984. He specializes in complex reconstructive shoulder and elbow surgery and is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. He has written widely on the subject of sporting injuries and has been the medical editor of Golf Digest since 1987. Previously North American editor of the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, he has been editor of that publication in 2009.
Mallon is also a leading authority on the history of the Olympic Games and has written 24 books on the subject. He was a co-founder and later president of the International Society of Olympic Historians and was historical consultant to the organizing committees of both the Atlanta and Sydney Olympics. Mallon has also been a consultant statistician to the IOC and was awarded the Olympic Order in silver in 2001 for services to the Olympic movement.
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