The president of the International Olympic Committee has doubled down on this summer’s Tokyo Games.
Thomas Bach has reiterated the Games will take place roughly six months from now, a belief shared by the current Japanese government. These are the same Games that were postponed in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Common sense suggests Mr. Bach needs to back down.
Coronavirus cases again are spreading throughout Japan and the political opposition already is demanding the Japanese government announce a postponement, if not outright cancellation. The public is saying the same.
Of course, no IOC poobah will approach the lunacy of Avery Brundage, who demanded that the 1972 Munich Olympics continue hours after 11 Israelis and their kidnappers were killed in a failed rescue effort. The same mantra was heard in 1996 following the Olympic Park bombing that killed one person and injured hundreds more. But Bach is approaching the pantheon of Olympic reality deniers with its insistence that some of the world’s best athletes should gather this summer in one of the world’s largest cities.
Bach’s supporters are apt to say “what else do you expect him to say?”
How about “this time the Games will not go on.”
Radical? Yes. A potential economic disaster for the city of Tokyo, the country of Japan and the IOC? Absolutely. Necessary? Certainly.
There remain significant questions about Japan’s ability to host the Games amid a global pandemic that has killed more than two million people around the world.
The best option available if the Games are to go forward is for no fans to attend any of the events. Any sports fan around the globe will tell you that watching a televised sports event with no fans in the stands is dull; the piped in crowd noise cannot replace the passionate voices that echo as fans react to what’s taking place in front of them. But even if spectators are kept away, there still will be roughly 15,000 athletes and officials invading Japan.
Keep preaching denial, Mr. Bach. But do remember that if the Games do happen this summer, you will sound like Donald Trump. That’s never good.