The hypocrisy of going ahead with the Olympics cannot be camouflaged by self-serving statements and still untested safety procedures, especially with the Covid-19 pandemic raging not only in Japan but in all nooks and corners of the world.
Fifty-seven percent of people surveyed in 28 countries are against the Olympics being conducted in these trying times. Of the Malaysians surveyed the numbers are event higher with 67% giving it the emphatic thumbs down.
The hypocrisy is not only confined with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) but with the nations that are more concerned by the theatrics of it rather than the ongoing humanitarian crisis.
Look at our own country for that matter, where even the common people are not permitted to have recreational sports because of the ever increasing number of Covid-19 infections and deaths.
The latest count has Malaysia with its highest daily new infections of 13,215 with the total number of Malaysian dying numbering more than 6,500 since the start of the pandemic.
But, we have absolutely no qualms about sending our athletes to Tokyo, which is currently under a Covid state of emergency and where only 22% of its people are agreeable to the Games taking place.
It was shameful that we were trying to force Vietnam to go-ahead with hosting the SEA Games, despite the host countries reluctance due to the effect of the pandemic. Luckily though Hanoi stuck with its decision and postponed the biennial Games to next year.
Can the world live without the Olympics? Surely we can, and we have done it in 2020, when the Olympiad was originally slated for.
It was cancelled in 1916, 1940 and 1944 because of the two World Wars. But it was not a major concern for the IOC and the stakeholders in those days because the Olympics was not yet a money churner.
Today, the Olympics is a multi-billion dollar business and the IOC are practically the mafia heads controlling the business.
The IOC earned US$4.5 billion for the 2018 and 2020 Olympics, a powerful incentive to maintain the event. Their contract with NBC alone for a cycle of four Olympics starting from Tokyo is a whopping US$7.75 billion.
Now that the Olympics would be held behind close doors, without any spectators, the hosts is burdened with more losses that they have to bear.
A good friend of mine texted just a couple of days ago that he empathized with who had trained so hard and that it would be criminal to deny them the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Participation in Tokyo should not be decided on empathy for the athletes alone, especially when people of every walks and life have also invested aplenty in advancing their own careers and livelihood.
The opportunity to win a sports gold medal is no more important than the careers derailed, businesses closed and the common man’s health.
Is the Olympics truly a once-in-a lifetime opportunity or is it all just the marketing ploy and propaganda campaign that the IOC has successfully implemented over the last century?
Men’s football, cricket, tennis and golf are certainly among the sports that do not look at Olympics in the same vein as other sports.
These sports consistently generate their own sponsorship and have a stronger financial stability and have no real need for the eyeballs that the Olympics brings.
Even sports like rugby are only prepared to allow the contest of the Rugby 7s and not their traditional rugby at the Olympics.
The US and some of its allies in Europe are already plotting the boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics because of the genocidal practices of the Chinese regime against Muslim Uyghurs being carried out in the western province of Xinjiang.
But the cries from and absolute majority of the Tokyo residents to safeguard their health and well-being are being swept under the carpet.
The spirit of Olympism is the most important tenet only when it fits the narrative of the IOC and its membership.
The boycott of the 2022 Beijing Games could take place, just like the last time Americans led boycott of the 1980 Moscow Games. The Olympics were also boycotted by different countries and pacts in 1956, 1964, 1976 and 1984 because of political issues.
But the situation in China is one that can be resolved outside the Olympics if the US and it’s allies actually have the political will. The situation in Japan is completely different and has to be resolved by the sporting fraternity and not whitewashed for financial expedience.
Mark Wilson, a Michigan State University professor and urban planning scholar Eva Kassens-Noor analyzed 21 million tweets to gauge public interest in the 2016 Rio Games.
They found that while the sporting events may have been popular, the IOC generated far more negative than positive sentiments. The tenor of those tweets suggests that the public saw the IOC as self-serving and lacking an interest in helping the host city.
Like Malaysia, almost all the other participating nations at the Tokyo Olympics are doing so despite the restraints put on their own people back at home.
On May 25, 2021, the US State Department issued an advisory warning that “U.S. citizens are strongly discouraged from traveling to Japan.” It told Americans not to go there because of “a very high level of COVID-19 in the country.”
But the USA Olympic and Paralympic Committee indicated that their athletes would participate anyway.
A research institute recently estimated that cancelling the games would cost Japan ¥1.81 trillion (US$16.375 billion) and that the economic loss would still be smaller than the costs associated with a nationwide post-Olympics state of emergency.
Naoto Ueyama, the head of the Japan Doctors Union, has even suggested the Olympics might prompt the mutation of a new COVID variant.
A number of prefectures in Japan, including those in which Olympics events will take place, remain in a state of emergency, extended now to June 20. And Japan’s vaccination rate is one of the lowest in the developed world, at less than 5%.
A no brainer, considering that most countries including Japan, have vaccinated their own athletes well ahead of those in urgent need.
The Japanese government also cannot cancel the Games. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said the decision to cancel the games lies ultimately and unilaterally with the IOC.
Clause 66 of the contract between IOC and the hosts, contains the full range of powers the IOC has to terminate the contract. If Japan decides in the next few weeks it simply cannot deliver the games, this clause permits the IOC at its sole discretion to simply walk away from the contract.
Under either scenario, Tokyo would not only bear the costs for the preparations to date, but would also remain obliged to indemnify the IOC from any third-party claims, actions or judgements.
The Olympic Games has become a major money earner that has made the IOC believe they are now untouchable, not even when they decision could result in Covid-19 related deaths.
What more now that the highly contagious and the rampant Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus is said to be transmitted by ‘fleeting’ encounters and respiratory aerosols.
Significantly, the powers granted to the IOC apply not only to a cancellation before the games, but also at any time during the games.
If, for example, the IOC has grounds to believe the safety of participants would be seriously threatened or jeopardised by say, a sudden COVID spike, it can terminate the contract at its sole discretion. Again, the associated costs would largely have to be absorbed by the organisers.
IOC president Thomas Bach, who is already in Tokyo, has already embarked on a promotional tour to downplay the reality of the virus.
While the IOC claims that the Games would be safe for the athletes and officials, they have also forced everyone to sign waivers, which prevent the IOC and Tokyo organisers from being held responsible should an athlete become ill. How convenient to absolve themselves of repercussions that they themselves are responsible for.
The whitewashing of the pandemic is akin to how the IOC also downplayed the financial mess that was the 2016 Rio Games.
With all the attention on the athletes performances, the IOC was able to divert the reality of the problems in Rio to a certain extent. And they are definitely hoping that the momentum of the performances would once again help them to provide the necessary diversion from the pandemic. After all, what happens after the Olympics is not theirs any longer. It is for Japan to bear the burden.
Much of the facilities in Rio is in ruins since they hosted the Olympics, a graveyard rather than a symbol of Olympic success. But if the Tokyo Olympics does result in new clusters of infections, it could be a graveyard of real people that would be legacy of the Tokyo Olympics.
Like many other sports enthusiast, I too would be glued to see the best of the world’s athletes in action from the comfort of my home. And that is exactly the problem that we have created, now being manipulated and leveraged by the sports powers and their financial quest.
Real Tearjerker moments: at the funerals for all the dead grandmothers and grandfathers who are going to die thanks to this greedy covid superspreader event. #UnitedByEmotion #CelebrateTheOlympicGames #CanceltheOlympics #StrongerTogether #CovidIsNotOver pic.twitter.com/2BjHDEmNQr— Samurai Godzilla🖌 (@Samuraigodzilla) July 14, 2021