Tokyo 2020: Pandemic Olympics begin

One year and four months after its postponement for the coronavirus, Tokyo 2020 will be a reality. Around 11,000 athletes will compete in 33 sports at 42 venues. The organizing committee will remain on alert for the positive cases that occurred in the Olympic Village during this week.

It is Friday at 8 in the morning, Argentina time (At 7 o’clock the transmission will start on Public TV, TyC Sports and DirecTV Sports), the curtain will rise on the Olympic Games at the Tokyo National Stadium which was rebuilt for the event with a capacity for 68,000 people. The opening ceremony will not have an audience like any of the 339 events that will take place between July 23 and August 8, since the Japanese capital entered a state of emergency since July 12. This measure was taken weeks ago due to the increase in cases and the threat of the delta variant.

For the first time in history there will be a standard bearer by gender in the inaugural parade of each delegation. Olympic champions Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza will carry the Argentine flag. Tokyo 2020 will be the edition with the greatest gender equality, since 48.3% of the participants are women. This means an increase in relation to Rio 2016, where the female presence was 45%.

Strict protocols

In the last hours more covid positives appeared in the Olympic Village. In reference to this situation, the general director of the organizing committee, Toshiro Muto, affirmed that he does not rule out any scenario in the face of the increase in coronavirus cases but that a cancellation of the competitions that are inaugurated next Friday is unlikely. “We have agreed that, based on the coronavirus situation, we will reconvene a meeting for all parties. At this point, Covid-19 cases may increase or decrease, so we will think about what we should do when the situation arises. “said the Japanese.

The Athletes must comply with strict sanitary protocols and will be part of a bubble in which they will not be able to have contact with people from outside the Olympic Village. In the award ceremonies each athlete will hang their medal unlike in previous editions and there will not be a group photo of the members of the podium.

According to behavior guides published by the organization, each delegation will have a covid-related liaison officer. Although vaccination is not mandatory, it is estimated that 85% of the people who are in the Olympic Village will be inoculated.

Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, admitted days ago: “There were doubts every day due to the pandemic. Neither the IOC nor the Japanese hosts ever considered cancellation, we never abandoned the athletes“.

The Inclusion Games

During this week thanks to the publications of Kim Smith Gaucher, Canadian basketball player, The Olympic Committee allowed breastfeeding mothers to bring their children so they don’t have to choose between being moms or being athletes. But Oma Carbonell, Spanish athlete in synchronized swimming, was upset on social networks and commented that the conditions for her to take her son are too strict: her husband and baby should be isolated for more than twenty days and locked in a hotel that is approved by the organization. The transfers from the Olympic Village to her family’s place of residence would also make normal development impossible for the athlete who gave up traveling accompanied.

Laurel Hubbard will be the first transgender athlete in the history of the Olympic Games. The weightlifter met the IOC eligibility criteria consisting of taking medication to block testosterone. Currently the limit allowed is 10 nanograms per milliliter in blood. However, for women transitioning to men there is no requirement whatsoever.

Japanese society

On Tokyo there is a divided city. According to statistics 70% of the population is against holding the Games. “We are trapped in a situation where we can no longer stop. We are doomed if we do it and also if we don’t do it, ” said Kaori Yamaguchi, a member of the Japanese Olympic Committee.

Who will be the figures?

Sin Michael Phelps ni Usain Bolt, there are several athletes who are candidates to become the star of Tokyo 2020. The top contender is gymnast Simone Biles, who won four gold medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics.. Novak Djokovic will try to be one of the main animators and to achieve what he never could, the gold medal. Also keep an eye out for Katie Ledecky, American swimmer, who obtained four golds and one silver in Brazil.

After so many speculations, doubts and fears, the maximum multisport event will be launched. The authorities did not tire of stating that Tokyo is the ideal place to hold the Olympic Games during the pandemic, although in these weeks the cases increased to the level that occurred in January. The development will be an unknown both in health and sports. Will there be outbreaks, will medals be won thanks to the covid, will there be unfinished ends? From this Friday and for seventeen days there will be situations of all kinds. Time will tell if the organizing committee and the IOC were up to the task of the circumstances.


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