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Brennan's brief Strange but wonderful things await in this year's weird and wacky world of sport

And so, a sporting year like no other begins to crank into life.

This time last year we knew nothing about fixtures behind closed doors, about an All-Ireland Football Final in Christmas week, about Dustin Johnson blasting his way to victory in a Masters played in November.

For 2021, we know some strange but wonderful things await.

We face the possibility of no Olympic Games or Euro 2020. Can Japan host the Olympics in July and August while welcoming competitors and visitors from every country in the world?

It’s hard to see how they can stage the Games with fans present. Lost finance is one issue for the organisers, but for the athletes, imagine winning the Olympic 1500m title or the 100m Freestyle in the swimming pool – with nobody there!

If the Games can’t go ahead this year, then the International Olympic Committee have said it is ‘Sayonara’ and we’re off to Paris and 2024.

For elite Irish medal prospects such as boxer Kellie Harrington and rower Sanita Puspure, that may be three years too late.

The longer UEFA dither about giving Euro 2020 championships, that is still its official name, to one country to host you wonder will it go ahead at all?

The idea of having 24 national football teams and supporters traipse across Europe was a great one when it was conceived in pre-Covid times. It’s not such a great idea now.

As the days tick by, who could they ask to host the tournament at the last minute? England and Spain have the stadia, but also massive numbers of Covid cases in their populations. Germany could do it, but they will stage Euro 2024. They would surely want to sit and wait and host a ‘proper’ Finals.

Russia, hosts of the World Cup Finals two-and-a-half years ago, might be the one country who would come to the rescue.

What about a Cheltenham Festival in ten weeks' time with no ‘Cheltenham roar’, no punters, no Guinness Village. Just the horses, their trainers, grooms and jockeys.

And there’s now the strangest of all possibilities for 2021, a Lions rugby tour in Britain and Ireland? It is impossible to see how a Lions Tour to South Africa in July, with thousands of fans travelling, can go ahead while the virus is so virulent.

Rather like the Olympics, rugby’s crowded international calendar means the Lions Tour must go ahead this year or not at all.

England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales are all set for their own tours to the southern hemisphere in 2022 before a World Cup year in 2023. So bringing world champions South Africa to this part of the world is one way out – perhaps the only way out.

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Online Editors