Home Sport Tokyo as the last bastion: The year the pandemic failed the Games

Tokyo as the last bastion: The year the pandemic failed the Games

Tokyo as the last bastion: The year the pandemic failed the Games

There were permanent controls, continuous quarantines and empty stands, although all this was not to the detriment of the good results.

One of the series of the 3,000 meter women’s hurdles in Tokyo.REUTERS

Save Tokyo was the mission of sport. Not only because of its symbolism, but because the sustainability of the sport depended on the manna that television rights entail. The second cancellation, which in this case would have been final, would have led many international federations to the prelude to bankruptcy, despite the insurance of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Tokyo 2020 went ahead in 2021 in the face of all restrictions, experienced as soon as we got off the plane in the Japanese capital, and even the majority opposition of Japanese citizens. The pandemic could not defeat Olympism. For now

Paris, in 2024, hope to be the Games of the return to life, although before it will have to pass another difficult Rubicon: the winter appointment of Beijing, in 2022. The reactivation of the Covid, through the Omicron variant, joins the rejection West for the violation of human rights in China.

Tokyo 2020 was the last bastion of sport to admit that its celebration on the date was a utopia. Before they did the Eurocup and many other events, whether in the European or world environment. The Olympic flame was like the flame of hope that needed to be nurtured at a time of great international pessimism. The reality, however, prevailed and the IOC gave in to pressure from the World Health Organization and the health authorities of most countries, including the main affected, Japan. The postponement, for one year, could not be extended further. The threat was therefore final.

Alert state

The start of vaccination, a year ago now, with more than six months remaining for the Games, triggered optimism, but the rates in Japan were not similar to those of Spain and other neighboring countries. Only 22% of the Japanese population had received the full guideline when the Games began.

A month before the event, which started on July 23, Tokyo established a state of alert due to its high levels of infection, although much lower than those in Spain at the time. The pressure of the Japanese health in favor of the cancellation grew on the IOC and the Organizing Committee. “We have been cornered in a situation where we cannot stop right now. We are doomed if we do the Games and we are doomed if we don’t do them, “he said. Kaori yamaguchi, former world champion of judo and member of the executive of the Olympic Committee of Japan.

The decision that the competitions would have a local audience had to be annulled, which caused a loss of 670 million euros at the box office. The total cancellation would have brought that figure to 13,560 million, since the IOC had guaranteed that income in the contract with the host city. So you had to compete, whatever it was. It would be without an audience. The silence of the stadium was the silence of sadness, especially in a country whose population wanted to overturn with the appointment, as it happened in 1964. If then the Games represented the staging of the recovery of Japan, some 20 years after the end of the Second World War, the current ones were not going to be the ones to give a new impetus to a technology giant that needed to regain ground and image.

Wounded soul

Tokyo held the Games of permanent controls, quarantines and cement, although this was not to the detriment of the good results, as they proved Caeleb Dressel, leading a swim that set a good handful of world records at the Aquatic Center, or Karsten warholm Y Sydney mclaughlin, that crushed the records of the fences, and the tripler Yulimar Rojas on the track of the olympic stadium. For Spain, in particular, the 17 medals allowed it to remain in the segment of the last editions despite losses such as those of Rafael Nadal or Carolina Marin.

The positive cases that appeared in the surroundings of the Olympic family, which also included journalists, were detected by means of a daily test system (saliva PCR) that we all had to carry out without producing massive outbreaks. The Games were saved but the soul was wounded.

An important contingent of personnel from Paris 2024 arrived until Tokyo, the next appointment. The Antwerp Games, in 1920, or the London Games, in 1948, both after the First and Second World War, respectively, marked the return to the more global stage in moments of emotional weakness for the world. Paris, the city of light, wants your appointment, the third in the French capital, to acquire the same meaning. The advance of the Omicron variant, even in countries with the highest level of vaccination, such as Spain, reminds us that we should be cautious. The fight against the pandemic will be long. Olympism took notice in Tokyo.

Reference from elmundo