There is no shortage of industries and workers that have been significantly affected by the global pandemic. From those who have been forced to close their doors for an indefinite period of time, to others who are struggling to achieve a reduction in the working day and limited job opportunities, the list is endless. But for athletes, the pandemic not only affected their livelihoods, but their way of life. Within the world of sports, athletes of all levels have found their competitive calendar largely empty, as tournaments have been unable to move forward due to the coronavirus and the need for social distancing. While some have done better than others, and some sports (specifically those with funding behind them) have created a separate bubble for these games to move forward safely, those who have trained tirelessly for the Olympics have suddenly seen as his world collapsed as Tokyo 2020 came to be postponed.
The International Olympic Committee made the difficult decision to postpone the Games, but when it was announced that they would take place in July, many were skeptical. At a time when the pandemic continues to see countries around the world struggling to contain the spread of coronavirus, sending athletes to an Olympic village where they will no doubt be very close to each other, it seems a daunting task in case it is done safely.
As we look back for the Olympics, doubt has continued to cover what should be an exciting time. Determined to block the negativity, the IOC has insisted that it is “fully advancing” with the Tokyo Games, despite the recent state of emergency in Japan. The announcement came at a recent press conference, and while the comments were intended to be optimistic, you can’t help but feel a disconnect between the messages and experiences people have around the world.
This was demonstrated by a protester who burst into the press conference and shouted, “There are no Olympics anywhere. Do the Olympics. We don’t want the Olympics. No Olympics in Los Angeles. No Olympic Games in Tokyo. ”It was later revealed that the protester was part of the NOlympics LA movement and the IOC quickly shut him down and withdrew him from the press conference.
Japan has reported more than 600,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 10,500 deaths, the highest figure in East Asia. Recently, it recorded 7,000 infections on Saturday, the highest since January. Not surprisingly, there are concerns about holding the Olympic Games in Tokyo, spurred on by the fact that only 2% of Japan’s 126 million people have received at least one dose of vaccine since the launch began in mid-February.
But, as the IOC suggests, the test events have been held safely in Japan and organizers are doing everything possible to ensure that the Olympics are a safe event. “As things stand, as we talk to our Japanese partners and friends, we are fully moving forward,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. “There has been a small extension of the emergency situation, but we continue to plan full Games, and so it should be and is the only way it can be for us. And everything tells us, from the test events to international events, that the Games can continue and will continue ”.
With only 78 days left for the Olympics to open on July 23, Adams also remarked that he expects public opinion to change when the Games are underway. “In terms of Japan and Tokyo we understand people’s caution and we are fully in solidarity with them,” he said.
“We understand that these are difficult times. We understand that people are very prudent. But test events and game books should give the Japanese confidence that these games can be held in a very safe way. ”