The Tokyo Olympics: Everything You Need to Know


Over 3 billion people tune in every 4 years to watch the best athletes from around the world come together to compete in the summer Olympics.
PC Swimmer Rafael Opperman ‘23 described why he enjoys spectating the games.
He said, “I like to watch the Olympics because the sport I do is a big part of the Olympics.”
However, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed to the following year. This is more than just an inconvenience for the athletes, as they schedule their training so they are at their peak for the Olympic Games, and the pandemic forced many to completely reset their training schedules. It also hurt the economy in the short term, because hundreds of thousands of stadium tickets weren’t sold, merchandise wasn’t sold, and billions of viewers did not tune in to the television broadcasts, thus not allowing the television networks to make money from advertisements.
Despite these hardships for athletes and its economic impact, the 2020 Summer Olympics still had to be postponed given the unpredictable nature and rapid spread of COVID-19. The Tokyo Olympics are set to go off this summer, but many wonder if it will actually happen; And if it does happen, fans ask whether there will there be any restrictions, such as virtual crowds, social distancing, or mask mandates.
There seem to be 3 paths that could be taken for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics: The Tokyo Summer Olympics could be postponed another year, it could happen but with many restrictions, or the event could commence as it normally would – without restrictions.
Despite enjoying watching the Olympics, Opperman says that the Olympics may be put off again.
“I do not think that the Tokyo Olympics are going to happen this year because we are still not completely out of the situation we are in.”
However, given that the global community is better able to handle COVID-19 than last summer – vaccines have been created and will likely be widely available by the summer – and television networks would not want to miss out on billions of dollars of advertisement revenue, it seems unlikely the Olympics would be postponed another year. However, the third option of holding unrestricted competition, also seems pretty unlikely because there are still many new cases per day.
This leaves the sole scenario of holding the Olympics with necessary restrictions, which seems to be the most likely path to be taken with regards to this year’s Olympic Games.
Because the Olympics have the potential to attract tourists from all over the world, due to social distancing protocols,a crowd may not be allowed to spectate many of the Olympic events. This may not seem that important, but crowds have a significant impact on the sporting performance.
Retired sprinting legend Usain Bolt said on July 9th of 2020 that he was excited to spectate the Olympic Games.
Bolt said, “The only good thing about it is that I actually get to take my daughter next year if the world gets back.”
Fans wonder if spectators will be allowed to watch the Olympics in person. Ever since the time sporting events were being held in the Roman Colosseum, the crowd has brought life to sporting events by cheering, chanting, and making noise. Without a crowd, the Olympics wouldn’t be the same. A way to mitigate this issue would be to have a virtual crowd. A virtual crowd was implemented in the 2019-2020 playoffs in the NBA and it was considered a successful approach, applauded by millions of fans.
In the NFL, some stadiums allowed an audience with limited capacity alongside masks being mandatory and social distancing protocols being put into place. Because the Olympics, unlike the NFL, are a global event, there might not be seating tickets available, as Japan likely won’t want to attract tourists from all over the world, which would likely facilitate the spread of COVID-19. However, most spectators would just be happy to be able to watch the Olympics on TV.
The Paw Print wishes athletes the best of luck in their training and in the upcoming Olympics, if they are to take place this year.