2020 Tokyo Olympics in 2024?
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
BECAUSE of the unpredictable situations spawned by the world health crisis which the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games originally supposed to be held last July 24 to August 9 in Japan, the governing body International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to move the Tokyo Games set on July 23 to August 8. Although it was postponed for one year, the IOC czars unanimously decided that the quadrennial meet should still retain the “Tokyo 2020” label obviously for marketing and branding purposes. Yes, it’s a wise move by the IOC. After all, athletes in the world who qualified to represent their countries have been and continue to vigorously and intensively train, including our Philippine delegation that has been hoping and dreaming to win the coveted but elusive Olympic gold medal since our first participation in 1924.
So far, we already won three silver medals in this quadrennial meet, courtesy of our two boxers Anthony Villanueva in 1964 Tokyo Games and Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco in 1996 Atlanta Games, and the latest was by Hidilyn Diaz in 2016 Rio Olympics in weightlifting.
We also bagged six Olympic bronze medals, too, firstly, courtesy of Ilocano swimmer Teofilo Yldefonso in 1928 Amsterdam and 1932 Los Angeles; Filipino-American Miguel White in 1936 Berlin, in track and field; our two boxers Jose Villanueva (father of Anthony) and Roel Velasco (elder brother of Mansueto) in 1932 Los Angeles; high jumper (track and field) Simeon Toribio in 1932 Los Angeles, and boxer Leopoldo Serantes in 1988 Seoul. Meanwhile, another twist suddenly came out a week ago when a new COVID-19 variant was detected in the United Kingdom and threatening to infect other nations including Philippines which according to the latest report (as of this writing) has already one victim. Will the new variant cancel the Tokyo 2020 completely?
IOC top honchos and Tokyo 2020 CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Toshiro Muto dismissed as “fake news” a Japanese media report claiming that the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organizers are in quandary and would discuss the fate of the Games in February saying, “When these type of reports surfaced, some people might feel anxious about them. I want to say that we are not thinking that way at all, and that these reports are wrong,” guaranteeing to hold a safe Games with antivirus measures. He did not elaborate but I believe that the Japanese government will surely adopt all the necessary measures to keep the variant out.
But true or not, some athletes of some nations including our state could start to rethink if the athletes’ rigorous training should continue or not given the possibility that the Games might be postponed anew, this time to 2024, as some critics predict. Anyway, the roll out of vaccines is now in progress in some parts of the world and some nations have decided to give priority not only to their frontliners, senior citizens but also their would-be Tokyo 2020 Olympians.
Of course, it’s a big deal for our athletes because to be an Olympian and a medalist, especially winning the gold, our nation can earn them the “Super Athlete” moniker in their chosen sport and division. Remember, Olympic Games, held every four years, is the most prestigious sporting event in the universe, where every nation’s best athletes of the world compete and test their mettle.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God. But made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. PHILIPPIANS 2: 6-7
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