The decision to host the Tokyo Olympics without spectators on Thursday came as no surprise – as it was perhaps the only way to ensure the Games could go ahead in the face of continued criticism from the people of Tokyo with repeated appeals. upon its cancellation.
An excused Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), regretted the decision on Saturday for both athletes and spectators and as a former Olympian fencer – he knows it better. If there is a sporting spectacle across the world where athletes feed off the energy of the sight of their national flags and the chauvinistic connotation at venues – whether at a track and field competition or ‘a boxing ring – this is the multidisciplinary arena of the Olympic Games.
While the stakeholders – the organizing committee, the IOC and the Japanese government were unanimous in their decision, the pity is that the world of sport has not come to common ground when it comes to driving. mega-events. As a result, Euro 2020 takes place with a good percentage of spectators at all 11 venues in Europe, Wimbledon center court looks shocking, Royal Ascot had the racing fans in their hats and finery – but the the world’s super athletes are supposed to live up to the demanding principles of Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, higher, louder) on empty sites.
It could be an interesting research topic if some of the big name events like track and field and swimming – where cheering crowds act as the biggest pacer, suffer in terms of the quality of the competition. It is not a win-win situation for Japan either, as the government and organizers have long viewed the event as a chance to show the country’s recovery from a devastating earthquake and nuclear crisis in 2011.
Bach tried to raise the mood by saying that Tokyo is fully prepared while the athletes – who will only be allowed to travel to Tokyo five days before their respective events – can focus on their competitions.
There will be an increase in the production of visual content from the sites, making it a televised event only to survive pandemic times with a potential audience of over five billion people – with more coverage promised by partners. broadcast than any other Olympic Games both linear TV and digital platforms.
There is, however, widespread apprehension if making the Games spectatorless (foreign visitors were banned about a month ago) is a guarantee that the Games will not act as a super-broadcaster. There will be more than 10,000 athletes from all over the world, add to that the number of officials, volunteers as Tokyo has taken on a colossal task of vaccinating everyone before the Games.
This is quite a Catch-22 situation – and one can hope and pray that it will pass without a health emergency.