Tokyo Olympics: at the starting line… on your mark, get set… go?
Twelve months ago, the pandemic forced the IOC to leapfrog the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Spectators and athletes had no choice but to spend the summer watching world events unfold and wondering what could have been. Now, with the games planned to start later this month, the heated debate about the feasibility of lighting the Olympic flame continues to smolder.
So, is Japan prepared to safely host the games this summer?
Tokyo was under its fourth state of emergency until the 31st of May, setting restrictions on social and commercial activities. Vaccines are also being distributed, albeit with some obstacles. Their distribution was delayed compared to other countries, and a lack of doctors to administer them are current challenges.
But with foreign spectators prohibited at any events, the hope is that athlete and worker safety will be the first and foremost priority. So, while ensuring safety may be a hefty logistical problem, a limited capacity of spectators and close monitoring of athletes is the solution.
It’s nothing new that the Olympic games often reflect local and international political strife. The people of Japan show opposition to this year’s games. According to a recent survey, 80% of Japanese oppose hosting the Olympics in Tokyo this year. Those reasons come from local governments which refuse to have athletes and staff prioritized over their own citizens when medical supplies are hard to come by.
Fundamentally, whether or not we will see an Olympic games on TV comes down to politics. In combination with tackling a massive logistics problem, the way that the Japanese government is able to handle the ever-growing needs for Coronavirus relief is the biggest hurdle.
Shion Britten is a junior at Southridge High School and enjoys playing the trumpet, baseball & hiking.