The long-awaited Tokyo Olympics is finally here after being postponed from last year, with the 2020 Paralympics following on later this summer. The summer of sport, which began with the Euros back in May, will continue until September and is one many are looking forward to. However, this year, things have definitely changed. Since the summer of 2012, when London held the Olympics and Paralympics, there has been a surge in sport participation in this country. This is something to be applauded. However, the games have only just started and there are already some controversies that pose the question of whether these Olympics should be going ahead at all.
Since arriving in Tokyo, so many athletes have had to isolate themselves. This includes many of Team GB’s medal hopefuls such as Amber Hill. Amber, who is ranked No 1 in the world in women’s skeet shooting, wasn’t even able to leave the country to compete in her sport at the Games. Obviously, it is devastating for any athlete unable to compete, but competitors who will be performing will be doing so slightly differently. There will be no spectators, meaning for the first time in years, competitors will be greeted by silence. There will be no applause, no singing of the national anthem. This of course was expected but will be disappointing for both the athletes as well as fans watching at home.
‘Inappropriate’ Sprinting Shorts
Many have been left speechless at this almost ridiculous incident. Olivia Breen, a two-time Paralympian champion, was informed that her shorts were ‘too short and inappropriate’. Olivia herself questioned whether she would have been spoken to about her shorts if she was not a woman. This has been an issue before, and it seems one rule for one sport and a different one for another. Norway’s beach handball team refused to wear bikini bottoms, opting for shorts meaning they could face fines for this act. The male teams are allowed to wear shorts.
Social Media Censorship
One controversy that will feel all too similar is a recent one. During the first football match of the Games, GB vs Chile, the players all took the knee. By doing so, they demonstrated them protesting against online hate and racism. However, Tokyo 2020 organisers have banned their own social media teams from posting of athletes taking the knee during the Games. Although this was seen on live TV, no images of this act were posted on any of the official social media channels. It’s interesting as peaceful protest is allowed on the field of play, but is still banned on the medal podium.
A New Era
There are some positives to come out of these special Games. This includes several new sports being added this year and a total of 34 new events. Sports such as skateboarding and surfing will supposedly reflect ‘the trend of urbanisation of sport’. Karate, baseball, and sport climbing are also included which will give people a chance to experience different sports, both as spectators and participants.
As with many years, this year’s Games demonstrates a mix of experienced and new athletes. Athletes such as Tom Daley, Max Whitlock, and Helen Glover will be trying to emulate previous successes from past Games. But there are so many new and upcoming athletes, ready to show they are just as good.