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VERIFY: Will coronavirus affect 2020 Olympics?

Remember that game “Telephone” in Elementary school?You’d pass along a message from person-to-person and by the end it was often completely different. This is s...

Remember that game “Telephone” in Elementary school?
You’d pass along a message from person-to-person and by the end it was often completely different.

This is similar. An online article – led to unfounded claims – which were repeated – and now we have rumors that the 2020 Olympics are cancelled because of coronavirus.

Up front – this is not true.
The International Olympic Committee – the folks in charge – released a statement. 

They said they haven’t even discussed cancelling the games…but they are working with the World Health Organization to monitor the situation.

And that’s where the rumor started. A meeting with the W.H.O.

Let’s break this down.
Wednesday – a German media outlet posted this article.

About the IOC meeting with the WHO to discuss the new coronavirus and what it could mean for the Olympics.

Later that day – the article was shared on Japanese pop culture site Buzzap.

Now this isn’t a news site – it’s more like a social media platform.
A user posted the German article and added statements like:

“The Tokyo Olympics could be seriously affected.”


That first popped up in the comments below…

And then took off on social media like Twitter – This Japanese hashtag means TOKYO OLYMPIC CANCEL…it has tens of thousands of posts.

So it’s like that game of telephone.
Article about meeting between WHO and IOC – becomes a posts raising concerns – becomes comments about the Olympics cancelled becomes a viral  social media claim.

At no point did any Olympics official say they were cancelled.

Two important notes:
Some Olympics qualifiers in China have been postponed or moved.
And a race in February that would have tested an Olympic venue was cancelled – the key there. It was testing a venue for the 2022 Olympics in China – not this years Olympics in Tokyo.

So bottom line – the Olympics are still on – despite these viral rumors that say otherwise.

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