Despite cancellations for various international sporting events all around the world, the IOC which handles logistics for the Olympic games refuses to cancel games with Japan proclaiming that they will provide the utmost care for the spectators as well as the athletes. While the Olympic Flame parading through is an extremely humble and proud moment for any country, Japan, in particular, has been criticized heavily for green-lighting the Olympics games to proceed as usual despite the huge scare.
The previous stop before Japan, Greece, was canceled as the Hellenic Olympic Committee announced last week that it would cancel the Olympic torch relay across Greece, “in order to contribute to the containment of the virus.” The handover which usually takes place in much grandeur and amid hundreds and thousands of spectators was carried out as business without any souls to witness the event.
Bringing the flame to Japan further cements the decision of the IOC to move ahead with the games as usual on July 24th with the Paralympics on 25th August. Following criticism for the games to be allowed despite infections from the novel coronavirus reaching as high as 222,000, the IOC has now started attracting criticism from their own pool of athletes.
Greek Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi took to Twitter to express her displeasure and asking the IOC to take note of the current health conditions to avoid future reciprocations. “This is not about how things will be in 4 months. This is about how things are now,” Stefanidi tweeted Tuesday. “You are putting us in danger right now, today, not in 4 months.”
Some athletes even feel compelled and scared to train “under pressure” and sticking to their usual routine “impossible.” While Japan’s decision to host the games certainly comes from a monetary point of view, a strong emotion runs through the athletes who spent years preparing themselves for the opportunity to represent their country in an event, which will further personify them as legends.