CUT YOUR LOSSES
There's no getting around it, the time has come to bite the bullet
Earlier this week I wrote that the 2020 (now 2021) Olympics organizers blew it by not postponing the already postponed Games by another year.
Now I'll double down: organizers need to cancel the Games, send all the athletes home and just take the loss. I believe these Olympics will not cross the finish line.
Toshiro Muto, head of the Olympics organizing committee, has said he isn't ruling out a last-minute cancellation of the Games before official opening ceremonies Friday. A recent poll shows that 83 percent of Japanese do not want the games to be held over COVID concerns.
I'd say these Olympics are plagued but that would be redundant. Tokyo's rate of Coronavirus infections hit a six-month high this week. The rate has tripled in the last month as Japan's fifth wave of infection, boosted by the highly contagious Delta Variant, roars through the Asian nation. Only 20 percent of Japan's population is fully vaccinated amid reports of vaccine shortages and bottlenecks in supply.
Tokyo is under a state of emergency. Athletes are instructed to stay in the Olympic Village, only to leave for training or competition and must depart Japan within 48 hours after their event. Public watch parties have been canceled. Media members are not permitted to ride public transportation, eat in restaurants, visit tourist attractions or walk around town.
Several months ago, organizers hoped that 10,000 fans – all local residents - would be allowed in the main stadium. Now fans are barred from all events. However, a few thousand sponsors, officials and athletes will be at opening ceremonies.
These will be some opening ceremonies. Last February the head of the organizing committee stepped down after creating a furor with his comment that women talk too much. Then the opening ceremonies music director quit after it was revealed that he bullied disabled classmates when he was younger. This week another ceremonies director was fired after it was revealed that he told a joke about the Holocaust in a comedy routine 23 years ago.
Emperor Naruhito will attend opening ceremonies but will leave out the word "celebration" as is traditional in his remarks.
This week, the Czech delegation has been accused of not taking necessary precautions on its chartered flight to Tokyo. Now five members, including three athletes, have tested positive.
Athletes are not required to be vaccinated to compete. So far, 79 athletes, coaches or staff have tested positive for COVID. U.S. swimmer Michael Andrew said, practically bragged, that he is not vaccinated. He said, as an elite athlete, he didn't want to risk a single day of training in the event he had a bad reaction to the vaccine. He is staying in the Olympic Village with 4,000 other athletes.
The original budget for the Tokyo Olympics was $6.7 billion. Costs have soared four or five times that. And now there will be no money from ticket sales.
Toyota has dumped all of its TV commercials showcasing the Olympics. Instead the carmaker will air generic commercials. Despite a rule that prohibits athletes from making any political or social actions, the Tokyo Olympics will allow athletes to take a knee or raise a fist during introductions of their event. This will not go over with some back in America. Already the U.S. women's soccer team took a knee before a match. So did the other team. So did one of the linesmen.
And now here's Frank with the weather: temperatures are predicted in the high 90s – the hottest Olympics ever – with super drippy humidity. The Olympic stadium does not have a roof.