LANE ONE: Faculty soccer has proven that the Tokyo 2020 video games will probably be “athlete-centric”

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, the offensively most valuable player in the 2021 Allstate Sugar Bowl (Photo: Allstate Sugar Bowl)

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The news from Japan is full of anti-Olympic petitions and polls shouting for the cancellation of the Tokyo 2020 Games, which are slated to begin on July 23.

A weekend poll of the Kyodo news service received 1,065 responses with some interesting results from his report:

Hold games: 59.7% are in favor of a rejection, 25.2% agree if there is no audience, 12.6% agree with limited viewers.

Virus problem: 87.7% are concerned about the spread of viruses by athletes and officials.

Virus trend: 90.3% concerned about the spread of Covid-19 in Japan.

Vaccine availability: 85.0% said the introduction of the vaccine was too slow.

Government response: 71.5% are upset about dealing with the virus.

Against all of this was a remarkable answer to another question:

“When asked if Japanese Olympic and Paralympic athletes should be given priority for vaccination, 53.9 percent of respondents said it should, while 13.1 percent said otherwise and 32.7 percent said it should replied that they could not give a straight answer. “

Huh?

If the Games are so unpopular and the vaccination program has been so poorly implemented, why a 54-13% positive response to priority vaccination of Japanese athletes?

Three-time gubernatorial candidate in Tokyo last Friday Kenji UtsunomiyadeliveredHis online petition to cancel the games with 351,868 signatures. It’s still available and as of 11 a.m. Pacific Time today (17th) it had 370,241 signatories.

However, it’s worth noting that it got 200,000 signatures in just over two days (49:23 May 5-7), but not even that many in the next 10 days.

What does all this tell us? Reported Kyodo poll results show great concern about the coronavirus and the country’s vaccination rate (85-87-90%), great concern about the government’s response (71.5%), and a significantly lower percentage for canceling the games (Jan. , 7%)).

Is that ringing a bell?

College football season was supposed to collapse late last summer, right? Do you remember that Timeline::

August 08: The Mid-American Conference is postponing its season.
August 10: The Mountain West Conference is postponing its season.
August 11th: The Big Ten and Pacific 12 conferences are postponing their season.

At this point, it was widely expected that all 2020 college football would be canceled. But:

12. August: The Big 12 announced a season schedule for 10 games.
August 16: Ohio State Quarterback Justin Fields starts a “We want to playpetition
17th August: The Southeastern Conference announces its schedule.

Fields’ petition garnered more than 240,000 signatures in just over a day and it had an impact:

16th September: The Big Ten Conference announces it will play.
September 24th: The Pacific 12 conference announces it will play.
September 24th: The Mountain West Conference announces it will play.
25th of September: The Mid-American Conference announces it will play.

Only three schools in the 130-person Football Bowl subdivision – the independents Connecticut and New Mexico State and Old Dominion (C-USA) – chose not to play in the fall. (With an average of 100 players per school and 127 schools, that’s 12,700 players: more than 1,500 in Tokyo!)

The season was held and a champion was crowned. There were issues in the five months of the Games from September to January, but it worked. The Olympic and Paralympic Games will come and go in two weeks apiece.

The Japanese public is rightly concerned about their health, and with the upcoming elections this fall, their political leaders are under pressure to increase the pace of vaccinations across the country.

But the college football season – and the NFL season too – has shown that sport can be practiced in an ascetic, antiseptic, and rigorous environment, as planned for the Tokyo Games. That will likely include:

● No spectators of any kind.
● Continued pressure to reduce the number of officers present.
Extreme attention testing, including daily tests for athletes.
● Tokyo residents said they should stay away from the games.

With a third edition of the IOC’s “Playbooks” for athletes, officials, media and others, which will appear in June, the requirements will be even stricter. The current program stipulates that athletes arrive up to five days before their event and leave two days after. Be sure to keep shaving this.

Tokyo 2020 Managing Director Toshiro Muto said last week that the expected 180,000 visiting officials will now be no more than 90,000 … and Muto added, “The number can be very small if we just look at people without whom the Olympics cannot take place.” to get smaller.

The cynics who whine that the Games are only happening so the International Olympic Committee can raise its television and sponsorship money conveniently forget last year’s comments that the IOC, for its part, would have been better off financially to cancel the Games based on its own Insurance coverage.

But it has not and has remained the course. Thanks to excellent research provided by Olympedia.org founder Bill Mallon (USA) Tokyo will be the only Olympic opportunity for 73.7% of the expected 11,091 athletes.

That’s 8,147 one-and-do Olympians. Mallon’s analysis of all Olympic Games found that of 114,887 athletes who have ever competed in the Summer Games, 84,705 (73.7%) only played one game. 21,542 (18.8%) appeared in two games and only 6,398 (5.6%) in three games. That is 98.1% of the total amount of all time.

This is the responsibility that comes with being “athlete oriented”. The Big Ten conference did not take into account the determination of Ohio State’s Fields and others who used their vote – there is that “athlete’s voice” again – to change the stance of a conference that said its decision to “postpone” , is not repeated. ”

Is it possible for the 2020 Games to be canceled? Sure, if the coronavirus gets out of hand, at levels far higher than it is now, but even the current higher rate of infection is a fraction of what has been seen elsewhere, and Tokyo and other prefectures are already taking steps to stop the spread, including increased vaccinations.

Fear is a factor, but locked-in, spectatorless play provides protection for both participants and the Japanese public. And there are more than 8,000 athletes the unique chance to take part in the Olympic Games. Supporting them in a responsible way is the definition of “athlete centered”.

Rich Perelman
editor

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