The second to last Casual Friday of the offseason is here, and it’s all about the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Even though soccer and softball were underway earlier this week, Friday’s opening ceremony signified the official start of an Olympics that many Japanese citizens believe should not be happening given the surge in COVID-19 cases locally, not to mention cases around the world.
This will be an Olympics unlike any other. Stadiums will be empty, medals won’t be placed around the necks of athletes, and obviously there are so many virus protocols to follow that have resulted in athletes withdrawing from the competition already. I fully expect over the next two weeks we will see prospective medal contenders pulled from their respective sport after a positive test.
But the Olympics have become a television show. NBC spends more money than anyone else to broadcast these games and have five billion channels and streaming services at its disposal. The time zone difference will surely impact the ratings but otherwise millions upon millions in the US will still in live or on the tape-delayed programs.
The question is how much of the Olympics will you watch (if at all)?
I really do not believe that in this climate it is a good idea to hold these games. Yes it’d be unfortunate for the athletes who miss out on a whole Olympic cycle when they may never reach that level again. It’d also be the money-loser of all money losers for Tokyo after winning the bid to host it several years back. But the odds of everything going relatively smoothly given the state of the pandemic are slim and done.
Usually in an Olympic year I’ll watch a ton of sports I normally don’t watch — e.g. badminton, archery, table tennis, etc. — but I just don’t have that energy or interest. I’ll follow basketball, soccer, track and field (all three sports I follow year-round), gymnastics (really just for Simone Biles, who is amazing) and swimming. Apart from that I’m just not emotionally invested in these Olympics and perhaps it speaks to my larger beliefs that the Olympics as a concept is in a rocky state already. There’s so much money needlessly spent to build facilities mandated by the IOC and you can tell that major cities are no longer interested in bidding to become hosts for either the summer or winter.
Anyway, have at it!