Time Travel

Worldline Convergence: 2020 Olympics Postponed

Today the International Olympic Committee announced that the 2020 Olympics have been pushed back to at least next year. According to Yahoo! Sports, “The 2020 Olympics, which were scheduled to begin July 24 in Tokyo, have been postponed to a date ‘no later than summer 2021.”

As they report, the Olympics have never before been postponed, though they were cancelled in 1916, 1940, and 1944.

Now, I’m no doomsayer, but as a person who’s often written about the John Titor saga, yes, I find the current situation more than a little interesting. I’ve always viewed Titor’s story as a kind of Internet urban legend, but I still like to keep tabs on when the “events” of his worldline seem to bleed into our own. It’s an old hobby.

(And for those wondering if I’ll ever stop writing about John Titor, the answer is: Not yet.)

Titor mentioned a 2.5% divergence. “Heck,” he once wrote, “the fact that I’m here makes it different from mine.” It is what it is, and who knows what that really means when we’re talking about worldlines and time travel and dubious forum posts from the year 2000.

Here’s what Titor said about the Olympics on January 29, 2001:

“As a result of the many conflicts, no, there were no official Olympics after 2004. However, it appears they may be revived in 2040.”

As we’re now in the future (from a certain point of view), we know that the Olympics did continue on beyond 2004: Beijing hosted in 2008, London in 2012, and Rio in 2016. But now the chain is broken.

Most of Titor’s statements about our future never came to pass. But if we let ourselves imagine for just a moment that the whole tale was true, we can sometimes feel that, perhaps, our worldline occasionally experiences echoes of a worldline that could have been. Or one we might, some day, catch up with. December 13, 2000:

“Some things that are quite different on one worldline have very little effect as time passes and the worldlines appear to ‘converge’ again and look very similar.”


Rob Schwarz

Writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Editor-in-chief of Stranger Dimensions.

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