Tokyo Olympics organizers said Wednesday that they won’t decide how many spectators — if any — can attend the games until June, as coronavirus variants raise fresh uncertainty.
They also announced athletes will have daily coronavirus tests, instead of every four days, as they firm up virus rules ahead of the games.
With overseas spectators already banned, municipalities around Japan are also abandoning plans to host foreign Olympians and Paralympians for training — scrapping rare opportunities for locals to interact with athletes from around the world.
Earlier in the week, Tokyo Olympics organizers found themselves on the defensive over their request for 500 nurses to be on hand at the games. Social media users accused the organizers of diverting crucial medical resources amid the pandemic.
While social media is something the International Olympic Committee can’t control, the mainstream media are another matter, explains Media Mix columnist Philip Brasor. All Japan’s big newspapers are Olympic sponsors, and normal rules seem to be trumped by IOC edicts when the committee’s in town.
Athlete protests are also verboten at the Olympics, but will the IOC be able to hold the line? Some think not. “If an athlete wants to take the knee, they will take the knee,” predicts British cycling gold medalist Callum Skinner.