Thursday, July 22, 2021

Tokyo - An Olympic Finishing Line?

In 2012, London hosted what can only really be appreciated as a successful Olympics. Yes, I know that's a little tricky to define but let's take it based on a straw pole of the popular vote, the man on the top of the Clapham omnibus was more positive than negative toward the extravaganza. Not sure that can be said in Tokyo of Mrs Watanabe on the Sangenjaya chin chin densha in the midst of a pandemical lockdown. When Ben Johnson was caught cheating he said to his mother in a hotel in Seoul, "mum, no one died". Let's hope Thomas Bach can say the same, come August 24th...

The rings of steel have been in place for the last week or so, to control crowds around the sporting venues, except there aren't any crowds, just empty stadia with canned laughter and annoyed locals who have the inconvenience of long walks in the summer heat to find a way into their apartment when the roads are blocked and locked. Blue Impulse, the aerobatic display team, have rehearsed writing the insignia in the sky, which may or may not come off depending on the weather (side note, the time for rehearsal was not released so as to avoid crowds, no one seemed to consider that for an aerial display, you just look up). And vaccinations have reached an astonishing 15% or so of the population, 85% below the official declarations just a few months earlier.

Japan was first awarded the Olympics in 1940 only to see this one fizzle out after a small invasion of China. '64 was a coming out party and the infrastructure lasted until recent years so let's say that was also a positive. Macron is here to pick up the baton for Paris but the "Olympic Bubble" has popped, teams are abandoning the "Village" and Brisbane has been awarded 2032 after being the sole candidate to contest the bid. So the question has to be raised, if no one is into it anymore, has the Olympics run its course? I cannot recognize the athlete highly enough, their hard work, dedication and sacrifice is unquestionably of heroic proportions. But as an institution, is it time to weave a cocoon and aim for a butterfly reboot one day in a land far, far away? Mrs Watanabe would probably think so...

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