There aren’t to any facets of the global society that the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t affected. And that extends to sport.
While a few sports have trudged on, such as horse racing, 2020 was supposed to beset for one of the biggest spectacles of sport in the world: the Olympic summer games. After holding out hope that the games could continue as planned this July in Tokyo, the International Olympic Committee announced Tuesday that the games too, will have to wait.
Facing immense pressure from a growing number of national Olympic committees, the IOC announced that the games are postponed until the summer of 2021. According to the Los Angeles Times, this is the first time in the modern history of the Olympics (dating to 1896) that the Olympics have been postponed. They were canceled once during World War I and twice during World War II.
The postponement was resisted at first by organizers in Japan, according to the New York Times, but was forced by the growing number of countries that announced they would not participate if the games were held this summer. That started with Canada on Sunday.
The decision did not come lightly, as Japan has already invested $10 billion dollars in hosting the games and could erase a staggering 1.4 percent of Japan’s economic output. The Summer Olympics, with more than 11,000 athletes from more than 200 countries, is more attended and participated in than the Winter Olympics.
Inevitably, this decision has been widely talked about on social media. According to a Social Studio of simply the keyword, ‘Olympic,’ generated 363,000 posts. And perhaps more than previous searches, this search generated more influencers, with 53. Because of the global impact, these were also from an array of countries, including a handful of American media, like ESPN, ABC and the New York Times. Other worldwide media include the Times of India, the European, Sky News, and Xinhua news agency in China.
But others, most notably athletes, have also chimed in with their thoughts and largely, disappointment:
One of the more fascinating aspects of the search via Social Studio is to see what the conversation is among those posting about it. A word cloud was generated to get a sense of that. And because the Olympics touch so many different cultures and countries, the conversation contains many words and phrases in different languages. Below are some of the keywords and phrases being used in this search:
The Social Studio search also generated a sentiment analysis, which perhaps surprisingly, returned results 57.2 percent positive. As the above tweets demonstrate, this is largely because while posts have expressed disappointment, they’ve also had encouraging remarks and bright side viewpoints on the situation. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that Social Studio does not account for slang, sarcasm, and other parts of speech that could be misconstrued.
Normally, I would say, ‘We’ll keep monitoring this situation from our perch in the Adam Brown Social Media Command Center.’ But due to the pandemic, myself and the rest of our staff will be monitoring a variety of situations from home, as we can access Social Studio remotely. And we’ll continue to do so, to give you more information on worldwide events and news.