Will the postponed Tokyo Olympics open despite rising opposition and the pandemic?
The answer is almost certainly yes.
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) June 2, 2021
If the guys in charge can keep every compartment hermetically sealed, it’ll be a cruise to remember — at least for the first class passengers. If it hits a pandemic iceberg, well… just imagine the storytelling potential!
… Tokyo is under a COVID-19 state of emergency, but IOC Vice President John Coates has said the games will open on July 23 — state of emergency, or no state of emergency.
As an exclamation point, Australia’s softball team — the first major group of athletes from abroad to set up an Olympic base in Japan — arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday.
So the Olympics are barreling ahead. But why?
Start with billions of dollars at stake, a contract that overwhelmingly favors the IOC, and a decision by the Japanese government to stay the course, which might help Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga keep his job.
These factors have overridden scathing criticism from medical bodies that fear the Olympics may spread COVID-19 variants, and a call for cancellation from Asahi Shimbun, a games’ sponsor and the country’s second-largest selling newspaper. The United States Department of State has issued a Level-4 “Do not travel” warning for Japan with Tokyo and other areas under a state of emergency that expires on June 20…
A not-for-profit based in Switzerland, the IOC has ironclad control under terms of the so-called Host City Contract, and it’s unlikely to cancel on its own since it would lose billions in broadcast rights and sponsorship income.
Though it portrays itself as a sporting league of nations, the IOC is a multi-billion dollar sports business that derives almost 75% of its income from selling broadcast rights. Another 18% comes from 15 top sponsors…
The IOC always references the World Health Organization as the shield for its coronavirus guidance. The IOC has published two editions of so-called Playbooks — the final edition is out this month — spelling out protocols for athletes and everyone else during the Olympics.
Recent test events held under the protocols have faced few problems, but athletes will have to accept strict rules.
“I felt beyond safe,” American sprinter Justin Gatlin said at a test event last month in Tokyo. “I know a lot of athletes are not going to be happy with this but the measures are in place to keep everyone safe.”
— Reuters (@Reuters) June 2, 2021
Report from steerage. (I’d add ‘… so far’, but I’m not a professional reporter.)
Around 10,000 of the 80,000 volunteers who signed up to help at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games have quit, broadcaster NHK reported on Wednesday, citing organisers…
Multiple opinion polls have shown that a majority of respondents are opposed to holding the Games this summer during the pandemic.