The 2020 Olympics was moved to 2021. Instead of cancelling the games, Tokyo, reluctantly agreed to the rescheduling. Unfortunately, as we get closer to July of 2021, Covid-19 continues to make the future certainly uncertain, and once again, there is tremendous pressure to abandon the event altogether.
WHETHER ALLOWED OR NOT THE OLYMPICS IS A BROADCAST CENTER
In 1936, when Berlin hosted the games, Adolf Hitler wanted to use it as a platform to prove his theory of racial superiority. The plan backfired and instead the Olympics heralded Jessie Owens, a black man who not only brought home 4 gold medals but won the friendship of his German competitors.
In 1972, in Munich, Palestinian extremists chose the Olympics as their bullhorn to demand the release of more than 200 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. The terrorists held hostage Israeli athletes and ended up killing 11 of them. Hours after the senseless massacre, the games continued. Munich sent out a message that terror and fear should never be allowed to triumph.
THE OLYMPIC IRONY
Chapter 5 of the Olympic Charter reads, “No kind of demonstration or political or religious or racial propaganda is permitted in the Olympic areas”. Despite this, the Olympics have never been devoid of controversy pertaining to using the celebration as a loudspeaker for beliefs, causes, rebellion and uprising.
Nonetheless, its existence and essence continue to protect its very nature. The games, regardless of how man has tried to debase it constantly reveal the good of man himself. The words Citius, Altius, Fortius or Stronger, Higher, Faster, permanently resonate after every Olympic flame is extinguished. Somehow, the good in man always prevails.
IF ONLY FOR THIS REASON, THE TOKYO OLYMPICS MUST PROCEED
It seems preordained that the 2020 Olympics was to be held in Tokyo. Japan first hosted the games in 1964. Back then, the games became Japan’s opportunity to rejoin the international community as a peaceful member. Reeling from the devastating effects of World War II, Japan’s remarkable rebound needed a platform to showcase, as many historians account, its rebirth and resilience.
Today, these two words once again reverberate. The Olympics whether we recognize it or not is a hilltop where these words can be hurled from and be our rallying cry. And as providence has set it up, Japan is taking center stage.
The pandemic has waged war on mankind. The virus has taken lives, changed the way we live and is reshaping the future. We need to come together to combat this foe.
Japan has and still is deflecting pressure to close down the games. Many supporters have pointed to the Japanese culture of protecting their honor as the reason for their stubbornness. Some say it is a simple issue of economics, and that Japan has already spent too much to let go. The only way to defend their honor and to recoup their investments is to push through with the Olympic Games.
Regardless of reason, it is fortuitous that Tokyo won the bid way back in 2013. Rebirth and resilience are virtues very much ingrained in them that giving up on the games is not an option. It is apt that the responsibility now lies on them.
THE OLYMPICS MUST GO ON
At this moment in our history, where once again man’s existence and way of life is in peril, we must come together. The Olympics remains to be one of the biggest gatherings that breaks down barriers and brings together every nation and individual. Right now, more than ever it endures to be the opportunity to showcase the indomitable spirit of man.
It is a reminder that we are strong together. The games remind us to set our sights higher. The Olympics should strengthen the belief that we can get out of this faster.
Citius. Altius. Fortius.
Let’s go, Tokyo!
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Mike Ochosa is an avid sportsman. He has written for various broadsheets and online publication providing his thoughts and insights on various sports. He is a freelance TV boxing analyst having sat ringside in 14 of Pacquiao’s fights and for various international sports networks as well. He was President of Punchout Boxing Club and is currently President and Program Director of Philippine Habagat Baseball.
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