So, it seems that the Tokyo Olympics are set to go ahead. Despite the Japanese overwhelming suspicion that the organisers are simply not up to the job. And, the fears of many athletes about the risk of infection presented by the travel required.
One of the concessions made to the post pandemic world in which we find ourselves is that there will be a cap of 50% capacity or 10,000 local spectators at each event. Which seems a wise precaution. Though one wonders where they pulled that number from? Whether it was the result of extensive research or whether it was simply pulled out of a hat.
Profit over protection?
This is a country where the majority of people are yet to be vaccinated, and many believe that if they are to go ahead stricter measures should be put in place. The IOC is determined to go ahead, which is admirable. But many of the measures being put in place seem to be more about protecting the vast financial investment in the games, rather than the well-being of competitors and attendees.
When you read a little further about the attendance caps it seems that there will be quite a few more people in attendance. Officials have admitted that VIPs—including sponsors and sporting federation officials—will not be counted against these totals. Why is this? Are they less likely to get infected than the people in the cheap seats? It seems that the safe number we can have at the venues is very flexible indeed.
Trim the fat, not the muscle
I’m all for getting sport back up and running, and not letting the pandemic rule our lives for any longer than necessary. But, I also don’t want to see a future for sports where your access to sporting events is not determined by legitimate safety concerns, but by how much money or influence you have. Many sports are already out of the reach of average fans we need less of this not more.
When it comes to the Olympics, if they need to limit how many can attend to keep us all safe that is something I can get behind. But, if we can get more people in the seats who are there because they love the sport then we should.
I’d rather see a cap on the amount of people there on sponsor tickets, or enjoying a junket because of their position, and more local fans allowed. There is plenty of fat that can be cut in international sport, especially the Olympics—let’s make sure we cut it in the right places.
David Goodwin is the former Editor of The Salvation Army’s magazine,War Cry. He is also a cricket tragic, and an unapologetic geek.
David Goodwin archive of articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/david-goodwin.html