When Russia invaded Afghanistan, 65 countries protested, boycotting the 1980 Moscow Olympics. It was a devastating blow to all athletes who were not allowed to perform on the global stage and demonstrate what years of training and sacrifice had achieved. In America alone, of the 454 athletes denied their chance in 1980, only around 25% qualified for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Lives that for years had been put on hold and devoted to sports were never allowed to shine, gutting countless athletes around the globe.
As we look to Tokyo, and wait to see what will happen in the summer of 2021, may we applaud all those who have worked so hard and may or may not, get their opportunity next year. Though an invasion and a pandemic are different, the results can be equally devastating.