Former Japan rugby player and sports education scholar Tsuyoshi Hirao says it’s time for athletes to take a stand on this summer’s troubled Tokyo Olympics, as the media “can’t turn a blind eye when athletes say something,” he tells Kaz Nagatsuka.
And all of a sudden, Japanese athletes are speaking out. On Monday, tennis star Kei Nishikori said he agreed with compatriot Naomi Osaka that organizers have to “discuss” whether they can hold the Olympics safely during the pandemic. Osaka has said she is “not really sure” the games should go ahead.
On the other hand, Rikako Ikee, who won a place on Japan’s Olympic swim team about two years after being diagnosed with leukemia, on Friday rejected social media messages calling for her to quit the games or oppose them.
Long-distance runner Hitomi Niiya, meanwhile, has come out against Olympians jumping the COVID-19 vaccine queue, writes Jason Coskrey. Niiya gave her opinion Saturday when asked about the IOC’s plan to offer vaccines to Olympic athletes.
Finally, one sportsman who won’t be fulfilling his Olympic dream in Tokyo is Win Htet Oo. Last week, the Myanmar swimmer called for an international boycott of his country’s Olympic committee, branding it a “puppet” of the ruling junta.