Hosting the Olympics in times of a pandemic : historical insights from Antwerp 1920 / Bram Constandt & Annick Willem

Constandt, Bram | Willem, Annick

Postponing the Tokyo 2020 Olympics due to the global outbreak of COVID-19 marks a unique moment in the history of the Olympic Movement. Although only the future can tell exactly, the Antwerp 1920 Olympics can offer certain historical insights. Exactly 100 years ago, the Antwerp Olympic Games were the first Olympics organized after World War I and the Spanish flu pandemic. Their value in terms of rising the Olympic Movement from its ashes is vital. Profoundly promoting its identity, newly introduced Olympic symbols then helped avoiding the collapse of the Olympic Movement. Acknowledged as the “Games reborn”, the Antwerp 1920 Olympics were strongly about recovery, helping to heal a wounded society. How could Tokyo 2020 fulfill the same role?


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