Olympics, politics, and pandemic: They can't be separated

Year after year, the Olympic stewards repeat the same message: The Games are not supposed to be politically oriented. How do you avoid politics while trying to pull off an event this complex during a prolonged, lethal pandemic?

Olympics, politics, and pandemic: They can't be separated

Year after year, the Olympic stewards repeat the same message: The Games are not supposed to be politically oriented. How do you avoid politics while trying to pull off an event this complex during a prolonged, lethal pandemic?

TheEditor
TheEditor
21 July 2021 Wednesday 15:25
953 Reads
Olympics, politics, and pandemic: They can't be separated

Take into account:

These Olympics are opposed by the Japanese medical community. Dr. Shigeru Omi is the main medical advisor to the government and has stated that it's not normal for them to be held during a pandemic.

The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet, both medical journals, have raised concerns about the risks. The former criticizes the World Health Organization for failing to take a clear position and the latter says that the IOC's decision not to proceed "isn't informed by the best scientific evidence."

Asahi Shimbun is Japan's second-largest newspaper. It has called for the cancellation of the Olympics. Other regional newspapers have also called for the cancellation of the Olympics.

There is a risk that the Olympics could spread variant strains, especially after two members from the Ugandan delegation were found to have the delta variant.

They are still going forward; the opening ceremony will be held Friday. How has the International Olympic Committee and Prime Minister Yoshihide Sug's Japanese government managed to overcome strong opposition?

The "host city contract", which gives the IOC the sole authority to cancel, is the heart of the IOC's core. Japan would have to pay the IOC if it cancels. There are billions at risk. Japan has spent $15.4 billion, but audits by government suggest that it is twice as much. Dentsu Inc., the Japanese advertising giant Dentsu Inc. was a key player in the 2013 corruption-tainted bid. It has raised over $3 billion from local sponsors.

According to estimates, a cancellation -- which is highly unlikely at this stage and less than 48 hours prior to the opening -- could result in the IOC losing up to $4 billion of broadcast rights income. Broadcasting and sponsorship account for 91% and NBCUniversal, an American network, provides approximately 40% of the IOC’s total income.

The Associated Press wanted to hear from outsiders and insiders about the politics of putting these things on.

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KOICHI NAKANO is a political scientist at Sophia University.

It's almost like losing too much to a gambler. You can't just pull out now, it will only confirm your losses. But you can keep going and still hope to win big and take it all back. You might want to take the chance and try for the best by continuing with the project. There is a chance that he can make the games a success by just doing it. And if he does, maybe he can turn negative opinions around by saturating media with pride and glory.

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