The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be played in empty stadiums as the host city has banned spectators while they are in a state of emergency because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Just 15.2 percent of Japan is fully vaccinated and infections are on the rise. It seems like a no-brainer to cancel the games, but there is money to be made.
You know the old saying: Men will literally hold the Olympics in a country in a state of emergency in the middle of a global pandemic instead of go to therapy.
Deep down we all know that canceling the Olympics was never going to happen. Not under any circumstances. The most you realistically could have hoped for was for the IOC to push the games back again, but even that isn't really realistic. They've got the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing right around the corner. Then they have to turn their attention to the 2024 Paris Olympics and so on and so forth. More bids and bribes must be considered and more future abandoned structures must be built in cities that don't need or want them.
The crazy thing is that we faced this in 2016. There were concerns about the Zika virus outbreak in Rio turning into a fullblown global pandemic. What a quaint memory that is five years later. Instead of starting a pandemic, we're now just trying to stop one.
So it's good that there will be no fans at the games. However, that doesn't change the fact that there are athletes coming from around the world to converge in one spot in the middle of a city in a state of emergency and then head home. Then again we also had concerns about the NBA playing in Orlando and that turned out OK. As long as you assume that Olympic athletes will be treated to the same luxuries that NBA players were. It's not like the IOC has a history of putting athletes up in less-than-ideal conditions.
Everything about the circumstances surrounding these games screams disaster. It's a bad idea, but it's also about the 1,000th bad idea we've gone ahead with in the name of sports and money so there's no reason to be surprised anymore.
We'll just do what we always do: tune in and try to get used to the empty seats and silence where we're used to seeing and hearing people. Assume the worst and hope that we keep avoiding further disaster while the world slowly burns around us. This is what we do now. This the new normal. Nothing stops this train. Eat Arby's. Or whichever company is happily sponsoring the games.