Tokyo Olympics should be postponed utters former medalist Kaori Yamaguchi

Tokyo Olympics should be postponed utters former medalist Kaori Yamaguchi

Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The first dissenting voice inside the Japan Olympic Committee (JOC) implied strongly that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics should be postponed. Kaori Yamaguchi, a highly respected former judo bronze Olympic medalist and the 1984 gold medal World Champion, stressed that “athletes first” isn’t being implemented. This refers to the horrendous coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic with over 11,000 deaths.

Also, from the perspective of athletes, then how can people train properly given the prevailing conditions? After all, the death rate is increasing in countless nations. Thus, while the death rate of over 3,200 in China is stabilizing the same doesn’t apply to nations like Italy with over 4,000 deaths. Similarly, the death rate in Spain is increasing daily and this fact applies to other nations.

Yamaguchi, a board member of the Japan Olympic Committee, uttered,As far as I can see in news from the United States and Europe, athletes aren’t in a position where they can continue their training as usual.” 

She continued, “Who will be happy about holding the Summer Games in July when we are now witnessing so many people’s lives being turned upside down?”

Yamaguchi also rebuked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for not putting athletes first. She stated, By asking them to train under these conditions, the IOC is opening itself up the criticism that it is not putting athletes first.”

The Daily Mail highlights the prevailing conditions in Japan by reporting, “Organizers have urged the public not to crowd the relay route, canceled many events along the way and have restricted public access to others. Runners and staff will have their temperature and health monitored, the organizers said.” 

However, despite over 11,000 people already dead from the coronavirus pandemic and this figure to increase daily for months to come, this seems not to alter the mindset of elites involved. Hence, the Prime Minister of Japan (Shinzo Abe), the IOC, and the JOC seem more focused on the economic angle and not the reality of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Therefore, it is hoped that others will listen to Yamaguchi who is uttering wise words.


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