Libre: Tokyo Olympics

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FROM July 23 to August 8, 2021, the 2020 Summer Olympics will be held in Japan. Known as Tokyo 2020, the most important sporting event of the world was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While there is a public outcry in Japan for the cancellation of the Games, organizers decided to hold these even as Covid-19 has surged once more in the Japanese capital.

On July 8, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced the Government’s decision to place Tokyo under a state of emergency for six weeks until Aug. 22. With this measure, no spectators, foreign or domestic, will be allowed into any venues in Tokyo during the Olympic Games. Competitions in different sporting events will continue as scheduled, with nearly 11,000 athletes expected to contest for 339 gold medals in 33 different sports.

Putting together the Olympics is costly: estimated at more than $US26 billion with $US2.8 billion added as a result of the postponement.

The Japan National Stadium, where the opening and closing ceremonies are staged, costs US$1.4 billion and could hold 60,102 for the games. The seats will be empty, except for the media that will cover the event. The place that will be filled with people is the Olympic Village where all of the athletes will be housed. Infection within the village will have a catastrophic effect on the games, thus, the organizers have a dedicated Fever Clinic for diagnosing and testing athletes showing symptoms. As a safeguard, athletes will be tested daily, not counting twice before leaving home and again upon arrival. Other than the testing, movements are restricted within and outside of the Olympic venues.

Do not expect high fives, handshakes and hugs among winners. Socializing will be nil. For instance, one of the directives is for athletes to eat meals alone, or at least at a distance of six feet from others. It is indeed a brave decision for the Japanese Government and the International Olympic Committee to make Tokyo 2020 happen against all odds. We can only pray that everything will go well — the athletes will be safe and give their best performances and that the theme “United by Emotion” will demonstrate humanity’s pursuit of victory against prejudice and the pandemic.

To honor all the stakeholders of the Tokyo Olympics, I’ve written lyrics to the tune of the Japanese classic pop song, “Sukiyaki.”

This adaption is entitled, “United by Emotion (The Sky is Blue in Tokyo).” Here’s an excerpt: How is the world today?/ Clouds are gloomy and grey/ But I know it won’t be like this forever/ I’m sure the sun will soon be here/To bring happiness to one and all// The sky is blue in Tokyo/ The streets are colored rainbow/ Peoples of all races have come together as one/ Against all odds, the Land of the Rising Sun/ Welcomes the very best of the world.

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