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The Olympic rings logo is pictured in front of the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland on March 18.
The Olympic rings logo is pictured in front of the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland on March 18. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic is throwing doubt over whether this year's Summer Olympics in Tokyo will still go ahead.

Canada has become the first country to announce it won't send athletes to the Games. And, for the first time, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said postponing the 2020 Summer Olympics is a possibility.

The Olympics are still months away — they're scheduled to start on July 24. But as Team Canada said in a statement, it's not just about athletes' health — it's about public health.

Has this ever happened before? The short answer is: Yes. The 1916 Summer Olympics were canceled amid World War I, and both the Summer Olympics of 1940 and 1944 were axed due to World War II.

But scrapping an Olympics in peacetime would be unprecedented.

Who would be impacted by this? Doing so would have ramifications on everything and everyone from the sponsors and broadcasters to the economy and athletes.

Organizers said in December that the cost of hosting the Olympics was 1.35 trillion yen ($12.25 billion) — and, according to Reuters, that figure did not include the cost of moving the marathon and walking events from Tokyo to Sapporo to avoid the summer heat, a decision taken in October 2019

Massive investments had been made in improving Japan's transportation networks, building venues and upgrading tourism facilities in anticipation of the 90 million visitors that Abe said Japan would welcome in 2020.

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