In the current environment, you could make an argument to say that the 2021 Olympic Games is the one event nobody really wants to go ahead. Outside of the IOC of course, but there are no surprises there.
Recent reports suggest that up to 90% of Japan’s population are sufficiently concerned about the potential spread of the Coronavirus that they would prefer the games no to ahead, with those thoughts echoed overnight by Japanese Emperor Naruhito.
But after 5 years, billions of dollars and one postponement (to date anyway), it looks very much as though the IOC will have their way. So, maybe it is time to suspend reality, bite the bullet and enjoy the games for what they are – however they may pan out.
Sure, there will be the usual complaints around swimming offering too many medals, boxing judges having the vision of Ray Charles and some very strange demonstration sports being brought to the table (although in one case, I believe they may have struck a winner – more on that at a later stage). Admittedly, a lot of those complaints will be from me but that is hardly the point.
A 19-day schedule that lists 33 competitions and 339 events is not for the faint-hearted. Only a fool would look to watch as much as humanly possible over that period to write a diary of highlights and lowlights to bring to you daily. So here I am.
For the 2016 Rio Olympics, I decided to take a couple of weeks’ leave to become nocturnal and battle some horrendous time zones to brings you “Diary of an Olympian( Watcher)” through Sportsfreak. For Tokyo 2021 I will be doing the same again, so prepared to be bombarded with hot takes, cheap shots, and a generous smattering of sarcasm.
By this stage of a normal Olympic cycle, we would be starting to get a strong idea as to who is likely to be firming as favourites in certain competitions, but the events of the last couple of years have made that virtually impossible. The comparative lack of recent international competition should mean there will be surprises aplenty across several different disciplines, and it will certainly be a nightmare for pundits.
Yet there are some athletes who are obviously in great form, most notably Ryan Crouser (above) who last week broke the 31-year-old Shot Put World Record.
It will be interesting to see what the atmosphere is (or isn’t) like at the major venues. The limitations on crowd capacities, and the edict from Olympic organisers that no cheering will be permitted will make for some unique competition. At least we won’t have a repeat of the Rio crowds, who took Olympic support to a new low.
The time difference from a New Zealand perspective is far friendlier than Rio. The action will be happening from around lunchtime through to 2.30am daily, meaning that the all-nighters that almost killed me in 2016 are a thing of the past. Errrr…literally.
It may have taken a year longer to arrive than originally planned, but we are now a month away from the greatest show on Earth. Embrace it for what it is and enjoy the sporting extravaganza that probably should not be happening.
Over the next month, I will start previewing the events on offer, but follow me on Twitter – and keep an eye out on Sportsfreak – for the latest daily updates throughout the course of the Olympics.
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