Top 10 big sporting events that got postponed or cancelled

Joseph BiswasJoseph Biswas

May 24 2022
Japan Times
(Courtesy : Olympics)

These tournaments faced the heat due to bad circumstances.

In the history of major sporting events, ‘big’ events generally take place after a gap of every few years. That is what helps maintain their reputation as something major and memorable. Be it the Olympics, World Cups in different sports or major continental championships, they take place after a certain gap to maintain credibility.

For the likes of the Olympics or World Cups, they take palce every four-five years or so since their inception. Every edition takes place after this gap. But, at times due to major problems around the world, some sporting events have been forced to be postponed or even cancelled.

These have happened a handful of times, mostly because the condition of world events didn’t make it possible for the major events to take place. So let’s look at the 10 big sporting events that were postponed.

10. 2020 Thomas & Uber Cup

The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc all across the globe in 2020, forcing lockdowns and cancellations all around. It also affected a lot of sporting events and forced postponements, including the 2020 Thomas & Uber Cup. The biennial badminton competition takes place every two years. The from 15-23 August 2020 in Denmark.

But it was postponed to 3-11 October. The global pandemic situation forced its postponement two more times and it couldn’t take place in 2020 at all. It happened in 9-17 October 2021 – more than a year after its original schedule.

9. 1975 World Chess Championship

Karpov was named world champion by forfeit in 1975 (Courtesy: Chess.com)

The World Chess Championship has been happening from 1886 onwards and has been taking place every two-three years since after the second World War. But in 1975, something curious happened with that year’s scheduled World Chess Championship edition. It didn’t take place, but not because of some events around the world.

It didn’t happen because of a dispute over the match format. The then World Champion Bobby Fischer refused to a play a standard ‘Best of 24 games’ with Anatoly Karpov and the organizers were not able to strike any compromise with it. It ended up with the championship not happening at all, with Karpov being named World Champion after winning by forfeit.

8. 2021 ICC Champions Trophy

The ICC Champions Trophy is seen as a lesser version of the Cricket World Cup ever since it was started by the International Cricket Council in 1998. Since then, it has seen a number of changes in format. It was turned into a competition that takes place every four years from 2013 onwards and one edition was set to take place in 2021.

In fact, the 2021 edition was turned into a World T20 edition and was to take place in India. However, the COVID-19 pandemic situation forced it to be called off altogether – with the next Champions Trophy to take place in 2025.

7. 1916 Summer Olympics

The Olympics is widely regarded as the greatest sporting event in the world. The Summer Olympic Games have been taking place since 1896, having the tradition of being held every four years. It has only been cancelled three times in history. The first time the Summer Olympics was cancelled was back in 1916.

This was due to the first World War putting a halt on all major sporting events back then. After the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, the next one to take place after that was 8 years later in Antwerp, marking the first Olympic Games since the end of the First World War.

6. 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games

The Commonwealth Youth Games has been held six times so far in the 21st century (Courtesy: NBC News)

The Commonwealth Youth Games is a relatively new sporting event, having only been held six times so far in this century. It started in 2000 as the ‘big event’ for athletes between the age of 14 to 18. The Commonwealth Youth Games has taken place six times so far and the last edition was supposed to happen in 2021.

It was scheduled to take place in the Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago from 1-7 August, 2021. But the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted plans, forcing it to be postponed. There have been no confirmation of when the 7th edition will take place, although it could be postponed to take place as late as 2023.

5. UEFA Euro 2020

Euro 2020 was postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Courtesy: New York Times)

In the international football scene, the FIFA World Cup is widely regarded as the biggest event in the sport. In the international scene, the UEFA European Championships are behind them in terms of reputation. The Euros have been happening since 1960, with more than 15 editions having taken place. But the latest edition in 2020 made some unfortunate history for the Euros.

It had to be delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic situation worsening in Europe. Initially, it was supposed to take place from 12 June and 12 July 2020. But the pandemic forced the Euros to be pushed back a year, with the ‘2020 edition’ taking place from 11 June and 11 July 2021.

4. 1944 Summer Olympics

The first time the Summer Olympics was cancelled was, of course, back in 1916 due to the first World War. A few decades after that, the event saw some setbacks because of the Second World War. The 1940 edition was cancelled because of the horrific war having put a stop to every major sporting event in the world. But what marked some (unfortunate) history was the 1944 Summer Olympics also being cancelled.

This meant the sporting event was cancelled for two successive editions, something which has not happened yet. After a 12-year wait, the Olympics happened again in London in 1948 and it has not been cancelled ever since.

3. 2010 Commonwealth Winter Games

The Commonwealth Winter Games has had a curious history. It was created way back in 1956 as a counterbalance to the Commonwealth Games, as to accompany more sports from the Winter Olympics. It has, although, had a very short-lived history for a relatively big sporting event – at least on paper.

The event took place 3 times in 1968. 1962 and 1966 – all having taken place in Denmark. There was talk of the Commonwealth Winter Games being revived in 2010 and take place in Jammu and Kashmir, as a complement to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. However, it didn’t come to fruition and had to be cancelled.

2. 1946 FIFA World Cup

The FIFA World Cup is undoubtedly among the greatest sporting events ever created. A culmination of ‘football’s greatest’, the Football World Cup takes place every four years and is recognized as the most prestigious trophy in the sport. The World Cup first took place in 1930, but hit a bit of a snag soon after.

The 1942 and 1946 editions were both disrupted because of the Second World War, even though Germany and Brazil were willing to hold it. The 1946 one marked the second-successive time a FIFA World Cup hasn’t been held, something which hasn’t been replicated since. From the 1950 edition onwards, the World Cup has taken place once every four years and hasn’t been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic either.

1. 2020 Summer Olympics

Perhaps the biggest sporting event to be impacted by the COVID-19 was the Summer Olympics. Initially, the Olympics was supposed to take place in Tokyo, Japan from 24 July to 9 August 2020. However, the COVID-19 situation meant that countries were not willing to allow their athletes to travel for the games.

In a historic decision, the Olympic committee decided to postpone the Tokyo Olympics. This marked the first time the Olympics had ever been postponed (a few editions in the past have been cancelled). The Tokyo Olympics took place from 23 July to 8 August 2021, in which Team India bagged a gold medal and two silver medals.

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