Mendoza: Ultimatum on Tokyo Olympics

Al Mendoza

AN ULTIMATUM has been issued on the fate of the postponed Tokyo Olympics: If the Games won’t be held in 2021, it will be scrapped altogether.

The quadrennial event originally set to open this July was moved to next year due to Covid-19. The new schedules are from July 23 to Aug. 8 for the regular Games and the Paralympics from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.

The new dates will be played at several newly-built venues in Tokyo. I was fortunate enough to visit the main stadium in Tokyo last November upon the invitation of Toyota, a major Olympic partner.

Massively awesome.

An architectural wonder.

A work of art, indeed.

But, alas, the coronavirus concern now horribly strangling the world may remain a major issue next year.

In a recent interview with Nikkan, a major sports newspaper in Japan, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics top gun said he does not see the Games happening at all if it will not materialize next year.

“No,” said Yoshiro Mori, the Tokyo 2020 president. “In case no Games in 2021, the Tokyo Olympics will be scrapped. We have to believe it will happen, otherwise, our hard work and efforts will not be rewarded.”

The Associated Press (AP) had also quoted Mori as saying the Games could not be rescheduled again. AP added that Richard Pound, an IOC (International Olympic Committee) member, believed 2021 will be the only chance for Tokyo 2020 to take place.

Postponing the Games alone to 2021 could cost Japan as high as US$3 billion.

Japan’s medical community is also very much concerned, saying the fate of the Tokyo 2021 Olympics hinges alone on finding a virus vaccine.

Japanese scientists said that the Olympics could proceed only when the infections were under control, “not only in Japan, but globally.”

Indeed, since the Olympiad is a universal thing, all of mankind is involved—meaning, participating athletes alone come from all over the world.

And since our competitors are the main stars of the Games, they are extended front-seat preferences—naturally. So, they get vaccinated first, the spectators second. And the rest of us?

Queue up, please?