For some athletes, today was the last chance to participate in the Tokyo Olympics. They are too old, too tired or too tired to wait another year.
One of them is 35-year-old Tetsuya Sotomura. When I met him on a changing afternoon earlier this week he was struggling in a converted factory building in a suburb of Tokyo, flying high in the air, crashing and falling on a large stage.
Back in 2008 Tetsuya placed fourth in the Beijing Olympics, missing out on the only bronze medal. Since then he has struggled with injuries that led to his withdrawal from London in 2012 and Rio in 2016. Tokyo would be the final destination for the city’s Olympics to complete its treadmill. But another year is still too much.
“Back in 2008, if the Beijing Games had been postponed for a year I would have thought it was okay, one year to train, another year to grow,” he tells me. “But now I’m 35 years old. The year feels like a very long time. So, I’ve decided that retirement is the only option.”
But there is another reason Tetsuya got off the trampoline. Do you think Tokyo 2021 may not happen.
“Not sure. No one knows what is possible. If expectations for next year were canceled, I would lose another year on the case. So, that’s another reason to leave now.”
Enthusiasm for these games has been very good in Japan since Covid-19 arrived here in January. The Japanese government has closed Japanese borders to many foreign nationals to protect the country from imported lawsuits, and many Japanese people are no longer in a hurry to see them open to athletes or spectators.
TV reporters have traveled to cities for hosting various overseas groups and asked locals how they feel. Residents of the northern city of Tokyo as a result of the hosting of the Brazilian party had a hard time keeping up with any enthusiasm. Voting by the Kyodo news agency, which receives only 23 percent of Japan’s population, now supports the holding of the games if Covid disease continues to spread next year.
The latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) do not make for a spectacular view. More than 15 million diseases worldwide, and that number is growing by almost one million every four to five days.
From the US to Brazil, from India to South Africa, repression efforts are failing and diseases are on the rise. True, the year feels like a long time, but many health experts say it is now unlikely that this epidemic will be diagnosed next summer.
At Kobe University Hospital in western Japan, Professor Kentaro Iwata says the only hope for the Olympics is vaccination.
“If a vaccine is found it can change a person,” he said. “Phase 1 and 2 tests have promising results. I do not give up hope. But usually talking about vaccines does not cure the virus, it reduces the risk by almost half. Therefore, I do not think Covid-19 can be eliminated. Instead (even with vaccines) it will continue to be 2021.”
Professor Iwata is very concerned about what is happening in the US, which is more than anything else that pays for the Olympics.
“The US will suffer from Covid for many months to come,” he said. “Can athletes come from the US to come here? Can we have the Olympics outside of America? Probably not. The start should be for the safety of athletes and the Japanese people. US TV companies may not like that, but the Olympics are a competitive sport or sport. TV? ”
There is one solution that seems simple: press the Tokyo Games back for another year to 2022. It is likely that the epidemic will continue then. But that has been issued by the Japanese government. His departure from Montreal the longest serving member of the International Olympic Organization, Dick Pound, told me it was now 2021 or an explosion.
“What we do know is that 2021 is our last chance,” he said. “It is not something we can put down until 2022 or 2023. I do not think it is expected to expect Japan to continue to keep the ball in the air. As long as it is safe for the athletes to come, it will make every effort. For the Gam