Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Is it worth having the Summer Olympics this year?

June 30, 2021 by  
Filed under Health, News, Opinion, Sports, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) We are less than a month away from the opening ceremonies of the 2020 Summer Olympics. Most people realize that last year’s Olympics were postponed due the global COVID-19 pandemic. Given the damage the pandemic did in 2020, it was the right move to postpone the Summer Olympics by one year. Although the residents of many countries are vaccinated a year later, there is a sense of whether the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic should again postpone or even cancel the Summer Olympics scheduled to happen in Tokyo, Japan.

In Japan, less than half of its citizens are fully vaccinated. Back in May, the Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association, which represents approximately 6,000 Japanese doctors, posted an open letter to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to ask his government to convince the International Olympics Committee that the Games should be canceled. An important part of the letter reads, “We strongly request that the authorities convince the IOC (International Olympic Committee) that holding the Olympics is difficult and obtain its decision to cancel the Games.” That letter was written back in May when the global prevalence of the “Delta Plus” coronavirus variant was not what it is now. As many know by now, the Delta variant has been enhanced transmissibility and a greater risk of hospitalizing people.


There is some star power that are scheduled to participate to this Summer Olympics. Olympic gymnastic legend Simone Biles and track and field sprinting icon Allyson Felix will compete in possibly their last respective Olympics ever. One of the most recognizable athletes on the planet, Naomi Osaka, will reportedly compete in the Olympics for her home country Japan. Olympic swimming star Simone Manuel made history back in 2016 and returns as well and some of the NBA’s biggest names will play Olympic basketball despite a disjointed NBA schedule. However, there is no male headlining individual Olympic equivalent to Simone Biles, Allyson Felix, or Naomi Osaka with the absences of Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps, who were part of a historic 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The lack of male superstar names competing in individual sports takes some of the juice and interest from this Summer Olympics.

One of the Olympic athletes looking to make a global name for himself is American sprinter Noah Lyles. The burgeoning 23-year-old track star has been demonstrating prior to being introduced at his races by raising a black gloved fist. He has said, “Just because we stopped talking about it in the news or just because the Olympics are going on, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. I am Black.” Lyles’ actions are a bit reminiscent of former US sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s historic Black Power salute during the 1968 Summer Olympics. Like back in 1968, the International Olympic Committee has banned demonstrations and protests for this year’s Olympics much to the disagreement of Tommie Smith.

Ultimately, it may be the coronavirus pandemic that shuts down the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Olympic organizers are trying to adjust by limiting the fan capacity of attending the games as organizers have said they are determined to hold these Olympics as billions of dollars in broadcast rights and ticket sales are at stake. One significant presence in Japan has concerns about these Olympics due to Japan’s issues with coronavirus spreading and that is Japan’s Emperor Naruhito. While Emperor Naruhito holds no political power, his words carry much weight throughout Japan. As with many things related to coronavirus, this is a fluid situation.

Staff Writer; Mark Hines

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