Tokyo Olympics: Will they happen? Should they happen?

The Tokyo Olympics are currently scheduled for July 23 to August 8 2021. Here is a quote from Eventing Nation on the current situation .

Olympic officials have released Playbooks outlining Covid protocol for Athletes, International Federations, Press, and Broadcasters. It remains the intent of the Olympic organizing committee to proceed with the Games despite a surge in cases in Tokyo and a decline in public approval of the Games. Organizers have also stated that a vaccine will not be required of athletes; vaccine distribution in Japan is scheduled to begin this month.

Eventing Nation

Will there be spectators? That is uncertain . The official playbook does state that athletes will be required to have a negative Covid test 72 hours before they leave their home country. Depending on where that home country is the athlete may have another test on arrival in Tokyo. They must provide a list of all people they will have close contact with during the Games. The athletes specific playbook for their sport will detail how they will spend their first 14 days in Tokyo. They may be required to have Covid testing during the Games. Specific rules will apply depending on the sport the athlete is competing in. Here is an image from the playbook. It is worth zooming in to see the All The Time recommendations as well as the other boxes.

I can understand that for many athletes Tokyo may be their last chance at an Olympics. For some equestrians their horse maybe to old for the next Olympics. For athletes in many other sports, the athlete may be too old to keep up the rigors of training for those intervening years. But is it worth the possibility of getting Covid? What if the athlete gets Covid and then ends up with the Long Haul Covid effects that leave hearts and lungs damaged. That will bring any athletic dream to an end.

Recently there were problems in Melbourne with the Australian Open Tennis Championship. Players, from all over the world, had to do a quarantine. Many did not have access to a tennis court to maintain their game fitness. Among arrivals in Melbourne two players tested positive for Covid and 72 players had to be notified as they had been in close contact. How will this sort of thing play out at the Olympics?

The people of Tokyo and Japan are not keen on having the Olympics. But a lot of money is already spent on the facilities. Would cancelling the Olympics be a loss of face for the Japanese Olympic Committee? How many athletes, all over the world, are training and trying to find qualifying competitions in order to make a team? In Canada there are now very strict restrictions on entering the country. This is proving to be a problem for getting judges in to meet the International judge requirements for the qualifying competitions in Dressage that were scheduled for this spring.

What do you think should happen? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

21 Comments Add yours

  1. mitchblue006 says:

    Thank you for the great info, did not know you were as passionate when it comes to the Olympiad.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Emma Cownie says:

    Yes it’s hard to decide. It would be safer and easier to postpone it is a shame that they were forced to do this last year so they wont want to do that again!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      They can’t postpone again with Paris 2024 coming up. It looks like it will go ahead. But it is high-risk in my opinion.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. David says:

    An excellent post regarding the intersection of sports with reality of the pandemic. The vaccine rollout in Japan has been much slower, very slow. It was a conscious decision by the Japanese government to seek a vaccine candidate made in Japan. They too have read the MIT study that raises the genetic diversity issues associated with the Pfizer, Moderna and Astra Zeneca/Oxford vaccines. With my daughters tentatively scheduling to ride in SoCal this summer, they know the California variant turned the state into a COVID killing ground. They have sought from the BES show management for certain assurances regarding their safety and the safety of their horses should they commit to showing there. Similarly, they have sought those same assurances from the Saratoga horse show group regarding their appearance in May, which isn’t too far away. A New York variant has shown up, and is rapidly spreading throughout the northeast. It too has a high rate of transmission. Absent of those assurances, they would be content to staying home.

    Also, with travel restrictions, no CSI shows are on the schedule here in the US. Riders need to have those shows to have a chance to receive an invite for the Olympic tryouts (at least here in the US). The World Cup Finals in April are literally a joke. Both US and Canadian riders are at a competitive disadvantage. Would the Olympics go on? Probably would, but it wouldn’t be the same. Any world record or Olympic record will likely have an asterisk next to them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you David for your insightful comment. Are there no CSI level competitions in Florida at WEF? There are several CDI competitions at Global as well. There are some Canadians competing there. However there is a requirement for the Dressage riders, who hope to make a team, that they have at least one CDI after April. That would have to be in Canada. With our borders closed and strict quarantines required for all arrivals in hotels etc the international judges are not able to get to the scheduled CDIs. There is a requirement that there must be a certain number of judges who are NOT Canadian . I know that one CDI scheduled for May has been cancelled. There is still one left in July but that is so close to the start of the Olympics I’m not sure it would work .Also the borders may still be tightly shut. Thanks for your comment David.

      Like

      1. David says:

        Several Grand Prix events at WEF were classified as World Cup qualifying events for USA riders, but not formally recognized as CSI level. Presumably, if a rider from another nation was to win one of those events, they would become World Cup qualified. Formal guidance from USEF and FEI has been rather murky at best if WEF shows with entrants from other nations were classified as CSI. Spring Classic III at San Juan Capistrano has traditionally been a 3* show while Spring Classic I and II are Premier AA level shows. This year, all three Spring Classic weeks are A-level shows. The same for the HITS shows (two weeks) in Thermal, CA have been 3* or 4* shows. This year, they are A-level shows. And, yes the shows went on despite COVID. The shows at Saratoga, traditionally Premier AA level shows, are A-level shows. Last year, they were Premier AA level. The three Texas shows my daughters competed in the past were traditionally Premier AA level. This year, they are A-level shows. Southwest Classic, which had a number of professionals compete in the past, barely qualified as an A-level show this year. Those riders, like my daughters, who compete at the Premier AA level are having difficulty in finding those shows on the schedule.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          Thank you for this clarification. Interesting! The shows at Global are 3* and last weekend a 5* CDIs. Also there are at the same shows CDI-W for World Cup qualifying. I can see in the videos that there are no spectators but there are still people eating and drinking and lots of them in the VIP Pavillion. It is sort of open as only the back and sides are closed off but I wouldn’t be comfortable in the media corner of the Pavillion. Anyway. Thanks for thr jumper info.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. David says:

            Everything in Florida is laissez-faire when it comes to COVID. I’ve seen videos from WEF too. You just can’t help but feel uncomfortable. In pre-COVID days, my daughters and I always tried to sit by ourselves for lunch, during breaks or just relax. That was our flu prevention routine. In Saratoga, last year, we did the same thing, only difference we wore masks and had a lot of hand sanitizer. Griffin, our groom, was constantly after her daughter Sophia on mask wearing. Sophia was working as her assistant. Sophia is a 100% better on wearing a mask, in her case a layered gaiter.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. anne leueen says:

            Florida is bizarrely laissez-faire . I would not be comfortable there at all.

            Liked by 1 person

    2. anne leueen says:

      I have just seen that there is a CSIO4* on March 5 in Wellington. It’s a Nations Cup. They are having a live stream as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. David says:

        Yes, I’ve just seen that on the PBIEC web site, along with other CSI level shows in March. The CSIO4* on Friday, doesn’t count to any points according to FEI. Usually, you earn points on how well you ride at Nations Cup in FEI rankings.

        On the calendar at the FEI web site, nothing is listed regarding CSI level shows in the US. I talked with Trish, the daughters’ coach, earlier today, as far as she knows nothing is on the board. Trish is pretty much in tune since she’s been trying to have them (FEI) invite the girls to CSI level shows more often. Granted they may have schedule conflicts between med school and riding, but not every rider invited to CSI level shows commit to riding those shows.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. anne leueen says:

          Well I know nothing about the points system. But what you say is most interesting. I also saw that there was a CS!5* last weekend. I don’t know anything about it as the piece just listed the winner and that Tiffany Foster ( Canadian) had ridden in it. My coach Belinda has said that everything she is getting from the COC as she is a declared athlete, and a previous Olympian, is making it look like they think the Games are going ahead. We shall see I guess.

          Liked by 2 people

  4. It would be great if each country had their own Olympics in individual states then tally up there scores for which country would be Olympic winners. We could all watch it televised, no adds would be great. Could be fun.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      It is a good idea! However I think the Japanese organizers have spent a huge amount of money on facilities and venues. The Olympics are so expensive now. I’m not sure they would give up their right to have the Olympics in Tokyo.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. It is a difficult issue. The time and effort spent by athletes is a real commitment and can not be minimized. However, by analogy… I figure that if I have planned on attending a party by preparing my participation, meal, etc., then I still need to defer to the household who might decide to cancel their gathering. I can not simply show up at the host’s house with my food etc. and expect the host to have a party which they have cancelled. It might not be the perfect analogy though you get the idea I’m sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I think your analogy makes a lot of sense. I think if the Japanese were going to cancel they should have done it already. All the athletes who are travelling to get in qualifying competitions could have saved time, and money if the Olympics were cancelled. It the playbook literature they talk about humanity coming together and showing what we can do together. This will make it the greatest Olympics ever etc. etc. etc. I think that is an unrealistically optimistic attitude. But we shall see. Thanks for commenting on this post.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You make thoughtful points.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s hard to decide, many people’s hardwork their dreams in one side and their life in other side.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I agree. Very hard.

      Like

  7. You uplifted me with your featured photo. When times are hard, I need to do kickboxing 🥊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Go for it Susie!

      Like

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