The Tokyo Olympics Are They The Most Consequential?

Olympic Rings in Tokyo
People walking by the Olympic Rings in Tokyo Photograph-Shinji Kita AP

The Olympic Games are typically the most anticipated event of the sports calendar year when it is an even year. However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Summer Olympics were postponed to the summer of 2021. With the long countdowns in its final days and competition beginning tonight, the question is, are these the most consequential games? The answer is simple and yet complicated, but its yes, the games that are about to commence are the most consequential.

Olympics Consequence 1: The Pandemic

When the games were first announced the postponement to 2021, the general hope was the world would be in a better place.

The positive news is the world is in a better place with regards to the Coronavirus since last March. However, the biggest problem is the distribution of the vaccines. The majority of the countries in the western hemisphere have been able to distribute the vaccine widely.

In the eastern hemisphere and in Japan, the vaccine distribution has been less successful. This led to the Japanese government announcing there will be no fans in attendance for the games.  However, the pandemic is already becoming a problem as two athletes testing positive for the Coronavirus on Saturday. In addition, an American gymnast tested positive Monday.  So, with over 11,000 athletes expected to compete in Tokyo, the question is how much of a story the virus will become, considering its high transmissible rate.

Consequence 2- The Resentment of The Games

Normally the Olympic Games are welcomed into a country, and there is not much backlash against them. However, in Japan, the general public is not as optimistic with their support. In recent weeks general polling among the population has shown a lack of support. In recent months it has gone from sheer opposition to the games to the question of if the games can be run safely.  The major concern is the arrival of the games will bring a heavy onset of Coronavirus cases to Japan.

The only benefit is that during the Olympics, fans will not be in attendance. This is a strong benefit as fans will not be able to express their displeasure during the actual competition. Also, with the state of emergency, fans might not be able to gather in the streets; the question is will the protests be an overarching theme of the games.

Olympics Consequence 3- Security

As with any Olympics in the 21st century, the biggest headline is always security. And those these games will not have as many spectators the security is always the primary story. However, at these games the security the primary focus is biosecurity.

With the focus being on the Coronavirus, the primary factor is trying to limit the spread of the virus during the games. The International Olympic Committee predicted that eighty percent of athletes would have the vaccine. However, with the vaccine already causing original plans to change, the question is how realistic can that be with athletes all throughout Tokyo. Though, the International Olympic Committee has a playbook with a hypothetical plan to keep the virus in control.

However, with athletes arriving in Japan and there has already been a widespread of cases among athletes in the village. The question is, how much longer can the International Olympic Committee go before having to revise its plan with new cases each day. For the first time Tuesday, organizers hinted at the idea of cancellation. Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshirō Mutō address the possibility of this due to the rising threat in cases,

“We have agreed that based on the coronavirus situation, we will convene five-party talks again. At this point, the coronavirus cases may rise or fall, so we will think about what we should do when the situation arises.”

Toshirō Mutō Tokyo 2020 CEO

Concluding Thoughet

If the Olympics go off without a hitch, it will show that the institution will hold strong. This will be consequential as the next winter Olympics in February will be in China, so any plan developed here will be key for the future of the Olympic movement. These Olympics are the most consequential as this can be a show to the world that even in the midst of a global pandemic there is still room for the greatest sporting event on earth to occur.

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