Suppose they had an Olympics and no one could go? Strange signals on Tokyo 2021
Original pos 1/21/21
Not sure that much has changed since I wrote this 3 weeks ago.
The Olympics is a close to a global religion that we actually have.
Sports transcends the activity and it gives many something to cheer about. And the seven billion people on this planet, having dealt with the pandemic in 2020, would sure like to see an Olympics in 2021. The sad thing is, with current medical knowledge and innoculations, it may be impossible to hold the Olympics without a huge loss of life.
The issue is this. Can Tokyo hold an Olympics, with COVID 19, and the challenges we currently have? The IOC is steadfast, with Thomas Bach saying ‘it will happen’. So does Seb Coe, head of Wold Athletics, qualifying that it will ‘happen in some form”. Yet, up to 80 percent of the people in Japan have noted that they would like to see it cancelled in 2021.
The athletes want to compete, as they have been waiting almost a year now.
What does the IOC do?
In the last day, a piece on the Japanese denying the cancellation of Tokyo 2020/2021 was published by Reuters that the Japanese LOC is hoping to move the Tokyo Olympics to 2032, to save face.
When Tokyo was awarded the Olympics eight years ago, no one would have imagined such a scenario. Now, much of Japan is again on lockdown, and up to 160 countries’ citizens would not be allowed to travel to Japan at this time.
The IOC’s Thomas Bach notes that the Olympics will be held, the US and Canadian Olympic Committee’s have tweeted that they have no knowledge on an upcoming cancellation.
Seb Coe, the man who heads the second most popular sport in the world, athletics, notes that he believes the Olympics will be held, in some fashion.
What does this mean?
The Olympics are an amazing example of how the world can come together. Tokyo would have been the tenth Olympics that I have covered.
I can close my eyes and give you the smells, the laughter, and the beauty in Beijing in 2008. I was amost arrested in Beijing, but that is anotheri story.
I can describe my first Olympics that I visited, the LA 1984 Olympics, and my screaming as Alberto Cova won the 10,000m and Mike McLeod battled to the bronze.
I was mesmerized with the Olympics and have been ever since.
In Athens 2004, I took my son, Adam, to his first Olympics. We bought tickets to the 100m semis, and Adam’s ticket was bad. I was able to get him in, thanks to some new friends. One night, Adam helped a German athlete ask a Greek athlete out on a date. He was so happy that his bit of German and Greek could help the German athlete get the date.
In 2012, my son, Adam and my brother, Brian were with me, along with Mike and AJ, my two almost-adopted sons. We had a blast, the late nights in London, the Indian food, the falafels at 3 AM, and the excitement and memories of doing BBC radio all come back. This was all while we worked long hours covering the Olympics via email, sending video, and juggling time zones and long days.
It has been about sharing memories with those I love.
None would regret the time and memories.
In 2016, my brother, Brian, mysel and photographer Victor Sailer stayed near Stadio Engenhao, walking to the stadium each day, and enjoying the locals ,
who were most curious about Americans staying in their neighorhood.
I wanted memories in 2020, now 2021, and I am not sure what will happen.
A pandemic is not a time to insist that the show must go on. I do not want people to die.
That is not the Olympics.
We hope that Thomas Bach can look at the situation and give us some honest assessments. We also hope that Tokyo, having spent $14 billion,
will see a way to save lives and save face and get another chance to host an Olympics in 2032.
Only time will tell.