The delayed Olympics are a hot mess
and it’s not just the blazing temperatures in Tokyo. We can
blame it on COVID-19 and politics. Only world wars have put a lid on
the prestigious showcase of the world’s top athletes.
viewing of the opening Olympics ceremony was at a 33-year low. Did
people forget about it once it was postponed last year to the
COVID-19? Maybe it’s only those who have a vested interest in
the games who have been paying attention.
Games were postponed last March due to the pandemic which was then
raging around the globe. The event couldn't be totally canceled
because of the billions spent on branding and marketing.
host committee has spent more than $20 billion on the un-spectacle,
motivation enough to push forward. A cancellation would’ve been
meant $4 billion in loss broadcast revenues alone. A Japanese
professor of economics predicted that without the buying power of
spectators, the games could lose $23 million. You do the math.
has been as much controversy swirling as there have been athletes in
motion. First came the protests by the Japanese people to cancel the
Olympics due to the pandemic but stubborn Olympic officials
persisted. The rise of COVID-19 cases in the host city forced a state
of emergency. Polling of the Japanese people revealed that two-thirds
had no confidence that the organizers could keep the Games safe. It
appeared that more effort was put into building robots than keeping
the deadly virus in check. To show its deep displeasure, Toyota
pulled its billion-dollar ad campaign from the Tokyo markets.
can't overlook the racial bias and decisions made by Olympic
officials this time or any other time. Like the banning of track
legend Sha'Carri Richardson from the Olympic competition when she
tested positive for marijuana. Many saw it as a double standard. And
those specially-designed swim caps for nappy heads? They were banned
Olympics are a long way from its original objectives, that of
promoting peace among nations and recognizing amateur athletics. At
any given time, some country is warring with another. The athletics
more are professional than any in the NBA, NFL and other acronyms.
pageantry and patriotic wins come at a high price, for the athletes
as well as for the folks who have no part in the decision to bring
the circus to town. What’s left behind is debt heaped on
citizens, militarized police forces and equipment designed for
terrorists at their disposal, displacement of people and destruction
of their environment.
we're re-examining the mission of the Olympics, let's look at how the
athletes are treated during their training and at the games,
especially the women and those of color. The tough competition and
stress on athletes and officials of color jeopardize their mental
health. Thank goodness Naomi Osaka had the courage to step back and
do self-care. An investigation is still ongoing but it could be that
the suicide of Moriya Yashushi last month was related to missing
money and documents. Yasushi was the accounting manager of the
Japanese Olympic Committee.
long was Dr. Larry Nasser allowed to wreak physical and psychological
damage on young, female athletes? The Games are more about the money
than the athletes and goodwill.
don't know what the future holds for the Olympics. What I totally
believe is that the International Olympics Committee is incapable of
re-imagining this 3000-year-old competition so that it's more humane
for people and the planet.