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  • Writer's pictureAlain Lord Mounir

Tokyo Olympics should be delayed, but it’s too late. Why? Too much money at stake


Sports amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been a strange thing to experience over the past 17 months.


Games postponed, seasons shortened, events canceled or delayed. No spectators to cardboard cutout in the stadium including at the most prestigious events the superbowl or digital fans to limited attendance and mask mandates. A whole new connotation to the word “bubble.”


The importance of sports, the role of it in our lives, has been subject to reexamination.

The notion of people playing games has seemed somewhat meaningless in the context of a global coronavirus pandemic whose death toll has now topped 4 million worldwide.

Yet, at the same time, sports the resumption of them, the continuation of them have felt vitally importance as a symbol of normalcy, a signpost we’re on the road to that, at least. Games and the comforting routine of seasons as a life preserver of sorts.


All of which brings us to the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The Games Begin July 23, ready or not and whether they should or not.


Sports’ place in a pandemic and the question, “Sports at what cost?” are open for fresh debate as the Olympics go on despite Tokyo just declaring a state of emergency due to a surge in COVID cases fueled by the new Delta variant, my team at Dermathermes are working so hard 24 hours per day to test the athletes and the organization.


Tens of thousands of athletes, coaches, support staff and media are in the Japanese capital. And all of them will be made to sign liability waivers. To put the legalese in layman’s terms, the waivers free the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo as host of any responsibility or blame should anyone arriving for the Games contract COVID or even die.


It was announced there would be no spectators allowed at any of the biggest venues for signature events we associate with the Summer Games, such as gymnastics, swimming and track and field.


If there are no fans watching and cheering, it is really sports at all?

These Summer Olympics officially still go by “Tokyo 2020” after being delayed by one year.


Common sense, if the priority were caution and safety, suggests these Games should be delayed yet again, until fans can attend.

Until the host city is not in a literal state of emergency.


Until there is a consensus the Games should go on after 83 percent of Japanese people in a recent poll said they should not.


But is too late for that. The Games is on because there is too much corporate revenue and television money to be lost if they do not.


How quaint, the faint and fading notion that the Olympics or anything in major sports is about the athletes first or the purity of competition. Money is in the driver’s seat. It’s why the Tokyo Olympics go on in a state of emergency, in a COVID surge, in a country with a vaccination rate of only 14.5 percent.


The Olympic motto is “Faster, Higher, Stronger.” The IOC will vote next week on a proposal to add a fourth word and make the motto “Faster, Higher, Stronger Together” in response to the COVID crisis.


There is irony there.


Together is an ideal hardly reached, globally over the past 16 months.


Together would mean we’d all follow science and be on board with vaccinations. We’d do it for each other.


Instead, we are far from together as so many remain defiantly unvaccinated despite the fact nearly 100 percent of COVID deaths are now among those without the vaccine.


Yet the anti-vaccine ideology persists. If we were truly together, there would be no state of emergency in Tokyo today. There would be full stadiums and arenas for the Games ahead. There would be normalcy.

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