Earlier this year I had two interviews on the Dutch public radio, one by the national broadcasting station, one by the most important business news radio. Both interviewers asked me to voice my opinion if the Tokyo Olympics that are to start from July 23, will really happen.
In both cases I replied that if you would force me to answer to this difficult question, I would say “no”. There are too many doubts with the Japanese population if a Tokyo 2021 Olympics can be organized in a truly safe manner (COVID-190). Besides, part of the Olympics are the fans, the fully packaged tribunes and the after parties. But when answering “no, the Olympics will not be held this year”, I guessed that my radio-message wasn’t happy news for the many Dutch athletes that are training.
Reading recent articles in the Dutch press, I noticed that in these newspapers and magazines, there is not so much an opinion about “yes” or “no”, but that nearly all articles only quote Japanese polls on the opinion by the Japanese population (60% against continuation, 70% against, 80% against!). Moreover, we can read nearly daily that well known Japanese (Rakuten’s CEO Mikutani, tennis players Osaka and Nishikori are against.
Sometime ago we could read that Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui proposed to move the Tokyo Olympics to 2024 and those in Paris from 2024 to 2028. Frankly, I think that is from the perspective of the public, the organizers and perhaps even from the sponsors a good solution, albeit it is not from an athlete’s perspective. Nevertheless, it is a devil’s dilemma.
For the Dutch it remains a guess if there will be a Tokyo Olympics in nine weeks. However, we can safely state that there is no Olympic Fever in the Netherlands right now.