An Olympics like no other: How these games will be different
WHAT'S THE ISSUE?
The Tokyo Olympics are the first in modern history to be postponed or canceled outside of wartime. But they are now going ahead – even if it does have to be in empty stadiums.
But what's the mood amongst the people of Japan, who had been hoping to show off their country on a global stage with an incredible sporting spectacle? And why do so many locals appear to wish the Olympics had been cancelled?
Dan Orlowitz, sports writer at the Japan Times, tells The Agenda with Stephen Cole what the host nation really thinks about holding a pandemic Olympics.
MEET THE EXPERT
Dan Orlowitz is a sports writer for the Japan Times, focusing primarily on the J. League, Samurai Blue, and everything there is to print about Japanese soccer. A Philadelphia native, he moved to Japan at the end of 2006 and, as he puts it, fell in love with the beautiful game from behind the FC Tokyo goal.
WHAT DOES ORLOWITZ SAY?
Asked for the mood of the people of Tokyo ahead of the games, Orlowitz replies simply: "Apprehensive, nervous. We're exhausted." He goes on: "I think that a lot of people want to get these Olympics over and done with. These are not the games we expected, not the ones we had hoped for, not the ones we planned for, but here they are. And I think that we all just want to get to the finish line."
He says a lot of people in Japan are confused by some of the decisions that have been made: "If you can have spectators at football games, at baseball games, at the sumo tournament that's ongoing, why can't you have fans at the Olympics?"
But he says, there also seems a whiff of double standards. "Look at how the [soccer] European Championships had fans and stadiums around 11 or 12 countries, and a number of those have now sort of turned into these super-spreader events – and yet there hasn't been nearly as much backlash towards UEFA for hosting the Euros as there has been to Japan for hosting the Olympics."
ALSO ON THE AGENDA:
– Tatsuo Ogura, Director of International Communications from the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, discusses the decision to go ahead with the event in spite of the pandemic, and his hopes his city can still pull off an incredible sporting spectacle.
- Hugh Robertson, Chair of the British Olympic Association, explains just how you prepare a nation's athletes for the biggest sporting event in the world in the time of a global health crisis.