By Jessie Tobin
With five months to go till the Olympic Games in Tokyo, the Olympics have reassured the world that the games will happen this July.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, The Tokyo Olympic committee is pushing forward with planning and creating the necessary measure to keep athletes safe.
“My current mindset is not to think too far ahead,” said Adeline Gray, five-time world champion wrestler for the U.S., in a Traveler article. “It is hard to predict what will happen, so I am going to train and get ready to make my Olympic team.”
According to the Olympic website, 61% of the athlete’s places have been allocated, and 25% will be assigned during the remaining qualification period, which will run until late June. The other 14% of athletes will be selected through their current ranking, based on each sport’s qualification system.
The Olympic organization will need to get 10,000 athletes from all over the world to Japan safely, with testing and social distancing. This means that the Olympic ceremony most of us see every year will look quite different.
“It’s been a little crazy, but I have been very focused on the Olympics and planning as though it is happening, and I have been training with that in mind,” said Katie Ledecky, a five-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer for the U.S. in an interview with NBC.
A cancelation would be a substantial financial blow to Japan; for them, the cost of hosting the Olympics games has cost $3.7 billion.
“We are not speculating [on] whether the Games are taking place; we are working on how the Games will take place,” said Thomas Bach, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, in a USA Today article. In an NBC interview, Bach explained that the essentials are the field of play, having a fair and safe competition. “We do not want to destroy any Olympic dream of any athlete,” Bach said.
The IOC will release an Olympic playbook around April or June explaining the rules and regulations athletes will have to abide by upon arrival at the games. Athletes will not have to quarantine but will be tested before the competition. Athletes are being encouraged to get vaccinated, but it is not a requirement, especially since the vaccine distribution is being handed out to health care workers and the older demographic first.
Whether or not spectators will be allowed into the games is still being talked about. Most athletes have spoken out about being fine without spectators left out of the events if it provides for them to compete.
But, Tokyo Olympics spokesperson Masa Takaya told NBC News, “[the committee] is not willing to see the games take place behind closed doors, we are hoping to see the games in their celebration atmosphere by accommodating as many spectators as possible.”
Just last month, Florida offered to host the games this summer if Tokyo did back out. Florida’s chief financial officer, Jimmy Patronis, sent a letter to the IOC offering to relocate the 2021 games to Florida. Patronis’ reasoning for moving the games to Florida was the state’s ability to keep sporting events for the NFL, NBA, and UFC during the pandemic.
“Our state has ample hotel capacity and well-maintained transportation networks to accommodate the kind of infrastructure required for a major undertaking of this sort,” Patronis explained in his letter to the IOC.
Tampa specifically managed one of the most significant sporting events, the Super Bowl, with their home team, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Japan fully intends to host the Olympic Games this year, despite doubts raised by some athletes and other parts of the world. But don’t get too discouraged about the games not happening here in Florida because the 2028 Summer Olympics is set to be hosted in Los Angeles, California.