After chatter about the possible postponement or cancellation of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics had gotten louder last week as the novel coronavirus spread outside of China, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued a statement on Tuesday, expressing its full commitment for the games to go ahead as planned.
Considering that events much smaller than the Olympics have been cancelled left and right over the past few weeks, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the question of whether a global event of that scale should be taking place in light of a possible pandemic would be raised. After all, the Olympics attract millions of people from all over the world, including athletes, trainers, spectators and media workers among other groups.
While athletes certainly take center stage at the Olympics, the games wouldn’t be the same without the spectators who breathe life into any sports arena. According to the IOC, 4.5 million tickets have already been sold for Tokyo 2020, illustrating the scale of the event and the enormity of the decision the IOC and the local organizing committee will eventually have to make. The following chart shows how many tickets were sold for the five Summer Olympic Games since Sydney 2000.