Although I am not a sports fan, I watch some games when they have the Olympics. However, I was against having the Tokyo Olympics because of the pandemic and thought that I wouldn’t want to watch them even if it happened.
I often talk to my mother who lives in Japan on the phone. For my parents’ generation, the Olympics 2020 was the second one in Tokyo as the first time it happened was in 1964. They were super excited when the decision was made that it was going to happen again in Tokyo. I could never imagine that my mum had to keep complaining until it started; “Tokyo Olympics? No way! No one wants it to happen in Japan!” So I assumed that my family wouldn’t watch the games this time.
However, on the first day of the Olympics, my mother called me; “You know, they are having the opening ceremony now on TV. Are you watching? I thought you might be watching as well even with the time difference in your place and here. That’s why I am calling you now”.
— O.K. So You’re watching the games.
It is a relief that my elderly parents were fully vaccinated in June, though the situation of Covid-19 is getting worse and worse after Japan started accepting athletes for the Olympics. After the Olympics started, I still didn’t feel like watching the Olympics until we happened to be playing with Amazon Prime a couple of nights ago. My boyfriend said, “Oh, they’re showing highlights of the Olympics. Would you like to watch it?”
“Sure, why not?” I said. A part of me said that we should watch the athletes because they didn’t have any responsibility for the mess in Japan. We should witness how they were doing their best under these difficult circumstances.
We watched some games and I was impressed by the concentration of the athletes and the way they push themselves to the limit. At the same time, I found it painful to see the empty stands of the beautiful stadiums.
If we hadn’t had Covid-19, the venue would be overflowing with people from Tokyo, the other parts of Japan and all over the world. The world’s top athletes would be encouraged and applauded by a full stadium of spectators.
I could say that the Tokyo Olympics have been held on the sacrifice of the Japanese people‘s health. Nevertheless, we cannot blame the athletes of course because they have suffered from the pandemic too. Also, the people involved are probably thrilled that the event went ahead anyway.
When I saw the athletes on the podium in their masks, I thought: “We still have to remember that there was an Olympics like this”.
The only consolation is that the mortality rate from Covid-19 infections is significantly lower in Japan than in other countries at this moment. There must have been people who had to pass away before the games due to the Covid-19, dreaming of watching the second Olympics happening in Tokyo.
It was reported that “there has never been an Olympic Games so unwelcome in the host city”. Who could have imagined this when the Olympic 2020 was decided to be held in Tokyo? And yet, I felt that we should remember the athletes who shone in the midst of it all.