July 15, 2024

Olympic Games Begin Under COVID Shadow

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Olympic Games Begin Under COVID Shadow

The Olympics are here! After a one year postponement amid the COVID pandemic, the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games commence this week, though they’re different from any other Olympic Games from any year before.

While the United States has been ahead of the pack on vaccinating its population, less than 2% of Japanese citizens have received a COVID vaccine; this being so, the International Olympic Committee has been under pressure to modify or even cancel this year’s games. Fans are not being permitted to attend games or events, and with the lack of tourism and fanfare, the Olympic Games are beginning to feel more like a burden than a gift for the residents of Tokyo and other Japanese Cities.

TOKYO, JAPAN – JULY 23: Naomi Osaka of Team Japan carries the Olympic torch towards the Olympic cauldron during the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on July 23, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Dylan Martinez – Pool/Getty Images)

The running of the torch culminated in last night’s ceremony, in which there were references to ancient Japanese culture amid a more subdued celebration. Tennis star and Japan native Naomi Osaka lit the torch in the stadium, marking the traditional start to the games. Preliminary competitions in soccer, softball, basketball, tennis, and many other sports have been going on since last week.

Pulling off the Olympic Games is an endeavor that requires a decade of planning under normal circumstances; whether you think the games should run or should be canceled, the sheer fact that they are being attempted while many parts of the world are still in the throes of a pandemic is remarkable. Should they have been canceled? Should they go on? Let us know in the comments!