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Tokyo Olympics & Paralympics 2021 Discussion Thread

What is your take: should the Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympics be held in 2021 or not?

  • Yes, they should go ahead as scheduled (July 2021).

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Lothor

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Mrs Lothor and I have noticed that the Olympics coverage on the TV has been less overblown and, well, obnoxious than in previous years. The TV has been on in the background, and there seems to be less obsessing with gold, and I don't think I've yet seen a medals table (even though Japan are currently top), a slow-motion medley of athletes having their moments of glory with stirring music in the background, or a huge room of people shrieking "Nippon! Nippon!". There is still virtually no coverage of big stories that don't involve Japanese people (Simone Biles' withdrawal from the gymnastic event) but the coverage seems to be less hysterical and more factual this time.
 
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Majestic

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I'm enjoying what little I see of them. I thought the skateboarding was interesting, and a good way to rejuvenate the Olympics, and there was a nice tempo to the overall event (but I really couldn't follow the scoring and the various tricks they were doing.).
Yes there are a lot of big names dropping out...Osaka Naomi is out now too Which in a way is good because it means some up-and-coming atheletes and countries have a chance to shine. It does get boring if it is just USA, China, Russia, and Japan dominating. Good to see the Tunisian guy coming from out of nowhere to win the Men's swimming event.
 

thomas

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I don't know if anyone watched the women's road race on Sunday (almost no coverage in J-media, as only two Japanese cyclists participated), but that was a major shake-up of women's cycling: a Cambridge-educated mathematician and amateur athlete without a coach or team support blew away the pro teams from the Netherlands, Germany, and Italy. A story of 'David vs Goliath' proportions. I'm still in seventh heaven. The men's race on Saturday was a nail-biter, too, although those six hours tested my wife's patience. 😄

I agree that the overall media coverage is unobtrusive and pleasantly slow, while Japanese athletes have been stunningly successful. It's a pity Mrs Osaka left without a medal; obviously, the pressure was too much. I need a few more Summer Olympics to get used to the discipline of skateboarding though.
 

mdchachi

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Mrs Lothor and I have noticed that the Olympics coverage on the TV has been less overblown and, well, obnoxious than in previous years. The TV has been on in the background, and there seems to be less obsessing with gold, and I don't think I've yet seen a medals table (even though Japan are currently top), a slow-motion medley of athletes having their moments of glory with stirring music in the background, or a huge room of people shrieking "Nippon! Nippon!". There is still virtually no coverage of big stories that don't involve Japanese people (Simone Biles' withdrawal from the gymnastic event) but the coverage seems to be less hysterical and more factual this time.
Still, there seems to be an awful lot of coverage of Judo, skateboarding and swimming. And surfing. Basically any sport with Japan has a medal hopes. And many replays when they pull it off.

Skateboarding seems overly random. Seems like it belongs in the X Games more than the Olympics.
200.gif

But compared to breakdancing (coming in Paris 2024) it seems like a "real" sport.
 
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Majestic

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Skateboarding also seemed fricking dangerous. I mean, downhill skiing and ski jumping, diving, etc are life-threatening as well, but skateboarding seemed to have a kind of immediate risk of really doing something horrible to your body.
(I'm sounding like my dad now).
 

mdchachi

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Skateboarding also seemed fricking dangerous. I mean, downhill skiing and ski jumping, diving, etc are life-threatening as well, but skateboarding seemed to have a kind of immediate risk of really doing something horrible to your body.
(I'm sounding like my dad now).
Considering they are doing it on concrete without helmets I guess it's not as dangerous as it looks.
 

thomas

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On the lighter side of the (Olympic) news: Israeli athletes finally found out how many people it takes to break the cardboard beds in the Olympic village. The answer is nine. It must be pretty boring to be confined to the Olympic Village.

israeli-cardboard-bed.jpg


A video of nine Israeli Olympians jumping on the so-called anti-sex bed in the athletes' village until it breaks has gone viral, Israeli local media reported. According to reports, the now-deleted video in which the athletes test the strength of the recyclable cardboard bed frame was uploaded by Ben Wanger, a U.S.-born baseball player on the Israeli Olympic team, to his TikTok and Twitter accounts on Monday. In the video, one, then two, then three, up to a total of nine athletes jump on a single bed until it breaks. The beds were designed to support weights of up to 200 kilograms, according to manufacturer Airweave.


The cardboard beds received a lot of media attention and were dubbed "anti-sex beds".

 

thomas

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Two interesting pieces indirectly related to the Olympics:

Belarusian sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya seems to have asked for political asylum after she was removed from the Belarusian team and about to be sent home "forcefully". The media reported that she was "under the protection of the Japanese police".

A Belarusian sprinter said Sunday that she was under the protection of the Japanese police after her country’s Olympic Committee tried and failed to deport her forcibly after she criticized her coaches for registering her for the wrong event. The sprinter, Kristina Timanovskaya, announced Sunday evening on Instagram that she had sought protection in Japan because she feared for her safety in Belarus, where the country’s strongman leader, Aleksander G. Lukashenko, in power for 27 years, has sought to stifle any dissent. “I am afraid that in Belarus they might put me in jail,” Ms. Timanovskaya told the independent Belarusian news portal Zerkalo.io. “I am not afraid that I will be fired or kicked out of the national team, I am worried about my safety. And I think that at the moment it is not safe for me in Belarus.”


And diverse Olympics: "harmony" instead of "inclusion". On the situation of Naomi Osaka and other Japanese athletes of "mixed-race".

 

Lothor

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“They will very politely spit in your face, wipe it off and say, 'So sorry about that.” Very striking line from that article about mixed-race kids.
 

mdchachi

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“They will very politely spit in your face, wipe it off and say, 'So sorry about that.” Very striking line from that article about mixed-race kids.
Seems like hyperbole.

I wonder how common this is though:
It is common for public schools to require students to dye their hair jet black and straighten it to fit in with the Japanese ideal.
 

Lothor

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Hyperbole or not, I've ended up feeling like that a few times in recent years.
 

thomas

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The South Korean Olympic delegation was worried about the food safety of Fukushima produce and set up a food station for its athletes. The Japanese organizers, on the other hand, are worried about the potential negative image.

Japan has expressed concern to South Korea over its delegation's setup of its own food service at the Tokyo Olympics to prevent athletes from eating meals containing ingredients from Fukushima, home to the 2011 nuclear accident, Japanese government sources said Monday. Japan urged South Korea late last month to take action over the matter, saying that launching such a food station at a hotel near the athletes' village in Tokyo causes further reputational damage on Fukushima products, which have been tested for radiation levels and proven safe, the sources said. The South Korean government has said that it has not instructed the delegation to set up such a food service.

To a certain extent, I can understand their concerns. But this:

Japan also expressed concerns to South Korea about local media being critical of bouquets using flowers from Fukushima that are given to medalists at the Olympics, the sources said.

 

thomas

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The Olympics have officially ended. Has anyone watched the closing ceremony? I found it pretty underwhelming. I admit I will miss the sports events, but I am glad it's over.

Here are some press reviews:




Now the number crunching has started:



PM Suga's approval ratings are down to 28%:



And a blow against Japan's bureaucracy:

 

mdchachi

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I also found the closing ceremony not that special. But I thought the games themselves went about as well as they could have and I'm glad the athletes got their chance to compete.

Note to the world, if you ever have to set up an equestrian course, don't use daruma as they will scare the crap out of the horses.
Or maybe spin them around to face the other way...

1628537485902.png


Now on to Paris which will be the first Olympics where they don't force the host country to go bankrupt building new facilities.
 

thomas

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Note to the world, if you ever have to set up an equestrian course, don't use daruma as they will scare the crap out of the horses. Or maybe spin them around to face the other way...

And this.

equestrian-sumo.jpg


 

Majestic

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Yes, I too thought the games went as well as could be expected given the immense hurdles. The pandemic was beyond the control of the organizers. My understanding is that there would have been enormous financial penalties imposed had the games been cancelled - and I felt that this could have been handled better (if true). Or, at least it could have been made more transparent. Everyone was wondering why the games couldn't have been cancelled, and the lack of candor regarding this means that everyone starts rumor-mongering. I don't know who would have imposed the penalties, or if they could have been negotiated away, but you'd think an unprecedented global pandemic is sufficient "force majeure" to justify moderation of any penalties.
Anyway, it doesn't matter too much now. The games went off relatively smoothly, all things considered. Japanese atheletes got some well-deserved medals. Nobody died. One defection (how bizarre was that story??). And one runaway Ugandan athelete. I can't believe Sapporo wants to bid for a future winter Olympics, but there you go.
 

Lothor

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I also found the closing ceremony not that special. But I thought the games themselves went about as well as they could have and I'm glad the athletes got their chance to compete.

Note to the world, if you ever have to set up an equestrian course, don't use daruma as they will scare the crap out of the horses.
Or maybe spin them around to face the other way...

View attachment 47406

Now on to Paris which will be the first Olympics where they don't force the host company to go bankrupt building new facilities.
I also watched the closing ceremony in the company of Mrs Lothor and perhaps about 20 Brits on the British Expats in Japan Facebook page, and the consensus was that it was underwhelming with no real standout acts. There was some anticipation when a giant taiko was wheeled out but that performance was over too quickly, and I found that final scene with the women and children singing at the end rather drab with a feeling of The Sound of Music about it.

Regarding the LA Times article about how the Olympics will be remembered, it may have been a bureaucratic nightmare for those involved in the games but the number of people who experienced that was relatively small compared with the number of people worldwide who watched the games and were probably impressed that Japan managed to pull it off at all (whether they should have made the attempt is another thing). I chatted to my dad last night and he was full of praise for Japan's organisational skills in holding a relatively smoothly run games during a pandemic.
 

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The Tokyo Olympics’ Staggering Price Tag and Where It Stands in History
How the Tokyo Olympics Became the Most Expensive Summer Games Ever



072121olympiccostssplash01_960x540.jpg

How the Tokyo Olympics Became the Most Expensive Summer Games Ever
The Tokyo Games are on track to be the most expensive summer Olympics ever, with the pandemic adding to mounting economic losses. WSJ unpacks the


The Tokyo Olympics are set to be the most expensive Olympics on record. According to officials, the budget is $15.4 billion, but Japanese government auditors have said total spending tops $20 billion, almost three times the original forecast of around $7.4 billion when Tokyo put together its bid for the Olympics. That puts the Games $11.04 billion over the total cost of London’s Olympics, the next most expensive ever.

The Olympic Games are one of the most expensive mega events any country can organize, according to a study on Olympics costs. The average sports-related cost of hosting the Olympics is $12 billion, with nonsports-related expenses typically several times that, the study found. In the case of the Tokyo Games, postponing the event added $2.8 billion to its final cost, according to the organizing committee.


Spending Spree


The single biggest cost of the Olympics has been the construction of venues. Eight venues were built specifically for the Games at a cost of around $3 billion. That includes the 68,000-seat National Stadium, completed in 2019, and two 15,000-seat arenas for swimming and volleyball. An additional 25 venues were renovated.
 

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Yesterday, the Paralympics were officially inaugurated - in an empty National Stadium. Has anyone seen the opening ceremony? We missed it this time.

Some photos from the ceremony are in the feature below:


The Paralympics began Tuesday in the same empty National Stadium--during the same pandemic--as the opening and closing ceremonies of the recently completed Tokyo Olympics. Japanese Emperor Naruhito got it all started again, this time under the theme “We Have Wings.” Among the few on hand were Douglas Emhoff, husband of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons and International Olympic President Thomas Bach. It was a circus-like opening with acrobats, clowns, vibrant music and fireworks atop the stadium to mark the the start of the long parade of athletes. “I cannot believe we are finally here,” Parsons said in his opening remarks. "Many doubted this day would happen. Many thought it impossible. But thanks to the efforts of many, the most transformative sport event on earth is about to begin.” The opening ceremony featured the national flags of the 162 delegations represented, which included the refugee team. In addition, the flag of Afghanistan was carried by a volunteer despite the delegation not being on hand in Tokyo.

 

Lothor

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I watched some of it, and it was quite heartening the way diversity and difference were promoted. If only Japan was like that in real life (and I'm not even referring to people with disabilities!).
 

Lothor

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