Preparations for the Summer Olympics

soxhop411

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The Japanese government has privately concluded that the Tokyo Olympics will have to be cancelled because of the coronavirus, and the focus is now on securing the Games for the city in the next available year, 2032.

According to a senior member of the ruling coalition, there is agreement that the Games, already postponed a year, are doomed. The aim now is to find a face-saving way of announcing the cancellation that leaves open the possibility of Tokyo playing host at a later date. “No one wants to be the first to say so but the consensus is that it’s too difficult,” the source said. “Personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/japan-looks-for-a-way-out-of-tokyo-olympics-because-of-virus-lf868xfnd
figured this was going to happen, given the amount of people from different countries congregating in close areas
 

Ale Xander

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Dammit. These are my favorite 16 days of the 4 year period. My heart weeps for the athletes, especially ones in sports with an early retirement age.

But it makes sense. 2022 Winter Games are only 7 or so months later so hopefully those can go on.
 

The Napkin

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There's no way they should have them this summer. Not sure why they couldn't have them in Japan in 2022 and then again back on the normal schedule in 2024.
 

swiftaw

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There's no way they should have them this summer. Not sure why they couldn't have them in Japan in 2022 and then again back on the normal schedule in 2024.
Especially as there is no summer World Cup in 2022.
 

bsj

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Agree, not sure why they would not move them to 2022. For 100 years or something we managed to do 2 games a year. Then they did a staggered schedule, I get it. But it would seem its not impossible?
 

Ale Xander

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If Bach is really this stubborn and pushes forward for 2021, his only hope I would think is a place where the political leadership doesn't care about the health, safety, and opinion of its citizens. Only one that fits that, and also has the facilities to hold the events, I think is limited to Moscow.
 

Nick Kaufman

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Why can't they implement a specific vaccination program for the athletes and the country missions and accept that it's going to be less spectators?
 

Fred not Lynn

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Maybe this would be a good opportunity for the IOC to experiment with scaling down the Games, to the point where they’re a functional set of sports events instead of the grotesquely enormous and completely unsustainable thing they’ve grown to be.

Simpler venues, smaller crowds, less on-site media...to the point where you could be nimble about shifting dates and places on the fly as circumstances dictate, and maybe even hold them more than once every four years. Somehow the World Series and Super Bowl manage to be special and successful every season - why not the Olympic Games?
 

Ferm Sheller

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"Summer Olympics likely to be canceled."

What a pisser it would be if every thread title on SoSH was 50 words long.
 

Leather

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Why can't they implement a specific vaccination program for the athletes and the country missions and accept that it's going to be less spectators?
This is my question.

can't they A) require athletes to be vaccinated; and B) only allow travelers into Japan that can confirm proof of vaccination?

I wonder if this is really a play to get the IOC to kick in significant dough to offset lost gate receipts. It seems crazy that they think putting all the infrastructure on ice for 10 years, with no guarantee that the notoriously flaky and spiteful IOC will award them the games again in the near future, is a viable option.
 

singaporesoxfan

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This is my question.

can't they A) require athletes to be vaccinated; and B) only allow travelers into Japan that can confirm proof of vaccination?

I wonder if this is really a play to get the IOC to kick in significant dough to offset lost gate receipts. It seems crazy that they think putting all the infrastructure on ice for 10 years, with no guarantee that the notoriously flaky and spiteful IOC will award them the games again in the near future, is a viable option.
Unless the IOC procures its own supply, requiring athletes to be vaccinated = asking governments to move Olympic athletes up the vaccine priority chain, which while likely not that disruptive to vaccine rollout (it's only a small percentage of the population) may not be politically tenable.
 

OCST

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Sports around the world have shown that on-field competition can go on, with some athletes being infected and some individual games being cancelled, but otherwise possible.

That's with bubbles.

Gathering thousands of athletes (and ???# fans) from literally every country in the world, though, and putting them in close quarters for two weeks, and then sending them back home, is fucking madness. It could be the mega-super-spreader event that sends the pandemic on an upward trajectory again all over the world. If you were Lex Luthor and wanted to design such an event to cripple the planet again it would look exactly like that.
 

mpjc

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Part of the current discussions in Tokyo:
If Tokyo Games must go on, ban fans, top medical expert urges
Under the current plan to host the Games, about 10,000 doctors and nurses would be stationed at the various venues and nearby locations to offer treatment for athletes and fans.

Most of the personnel are to be provided by the Tokyo Medical Association and that medical structure would not be possible without the association’s cooperation.

Tokyo's medical structure is already under tremendous strain due to the prolonged period of the pandemic, Ozaki pointed out in the interview.

Opposition parties urge Suga to call off Olympic Games
Kazuo Shii, head of the Japanese Communist Party, pointed to the possibility that COVID-19 vaccinations would not spread to all nations in time for the Olympics. He also noted the difficulty of dispatching large numbers of medical personnel for athletes and fans at the Games.

“The holding of the Games this summer should be canceled, and all efforts by Japan and the world should be focused on controlling the novel coronavirus pandemic,” Shii said at the Jan. 21 Lower House plenary session.
 

OCST

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Maybe this would be a good opportunity for the IOC to experiment with scaling down the Games, to the point where they’re a functional set of sports events instead of the grotesquely enormous and completely unsustainable thing they’ve grown to be.

Simpler venues, smaller crowds, less on-site media...to the point where you could be nimble about shifting dates and places on the fly as circumstances dictate, and maybe even hold them more than once every four years. Somehow the World Series and Super Bowl manage to be special and successful every season - why not the Olympic Games?
Someone suggested splitting the Summer games into two, and creating, for lack of something better to call it, a Spring or Autumn, of all the Summer Games sports that are played indoors and thus don't need/benefit from summer weather, ie basketball, gymnastics, boxing, fencing etc. since those don't really need to be in the summer. While that lacks a certain poetry, it makes sense. Basketball was originally professionalized in North America to give hockey arena owners something to fill the building on off nights and to this day the seasons overlap, no need to stage hoops in the summer.
 

mpjc

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don't need/benefit from summer weather
This reminds me that the planned Tokyo 2020 Olympics would likely be "the hottest Olympics ever" (The 1964 Tokyo Olympics were held in October to avoid the worst heat.) That will require medical support, too, I imagine. Organizers have already moved the marathon well north to Sapporo.
 

Captaincoop

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Unless the IOC procures its own supply, requiring athletes to be vaccinated = asking governments to move Olympic athletes up the vaccine priority chain, which while likely not that disruptive to vaccine rollout (it's only a small percentage of the population) may not be politically tenable.
In the US and Europe, I can't imagine that's going to be a huge problem, considering the priority groups are getting vaccinated now, 7+ months before anyone would be traveling to the Olympics. Not sure what the vaccine timeline is in other places, though.
 

Fred not Lynn

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Someone suggested splitting the Summer games into two, and creating, for lack of something better to call it, a Spring or Autumn, of all the Summer Games sports that are played indoors and thus don't need/benefit from summer weather, ie basketball, gymnastics, boxing, fencing etc. since those don't really need to be in the summer. While that lacks a certain poetry, it makes sense. Basketball was originally professionalized in North America to give hockey arena owners something to fill the building on off nights and to this day the seasons overlap, no need to stage hoops in the summer.
IOC would never move basketball into any part of the calendar that conflicts with NBA ply.

I think we need to recognize that for the most part now, every Olympic venue is really just a TV studio, and can be scaled to accommodate that, while also functioning as an actually sustainable facility, in support of its sport, after the Olympics.

The reason we get stuck with so many “White Elephant” venues isn’t that they’re really useless, it’s that they’re over-engineered. One of the arguments against the Boston bid was, “How come we gotta build a velodrome?”; And truth is, New England really does need a velodrome - but a modest, sustainable building, not a “Church built for Easter Sunday” $50 Millon extravagance...but, “Olympics”.
 

RIFan

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My solution would be to make these a Global Games. The logistics or bringing thousands of athletes, coaches,,support staff etc to one location are daunting. The logistics of staging events at venues all over the world should be less so from a quarantine and safety standpoint. Bubbles are doable and effective if you can limit the participants like the NBA and NHL did and Australia is doing now with the Open. Opening and closing ceremonies would go virtual and some sports may not be able to be worked out, but the core of the games including the money such as soccer and basketball can be in bubbles that allow them to be held safely. It creates some challenges for the broadcast networks, but it’s not like they have to each send crews all over the world. Set up a couple of common feeds and do all the play calls from their own studios.

Track & Field back at the Bird’s nest in Beijing
Swimming in Australia
Basketball back at Disney
Soccer in New Zealand
gymnastics in Germany
Tokyo could pick from a number of manageable sports to still be a host city
There will be no shortage of venues viable for limited use with sufficient hotels to create mini bubbles. They could easily spread them out evenly over the continents. (Antartica might be a stretch.)

I think the world could really use the Olympics this year and it would be an absolute shame to cancel or postpone because they want to hold them in a traditional way.
 

Fred not Lynn

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My solution would be to make these a Global Games. The logistics or bringing thousands of athletes, coaches,,support staff etc to one location are daunting. The logistics of staging events at venues all over the world should be less so from a quarantine and safety standpoint. Bubbles are doable and effective if you can limit the participants like the NBA and NHL did and Australia is doing now with the Open. Opening and closing ceremonies would go virtual and some sports may not be able to be worked out, but the core of the games including the money such as soccer and basketball can be in bubbles that allow them to be held safely. It creates some challenges for the broadcast networks, but it’s not like they have to each send crews all over the world. Set up a couple of common feeds and do all the play calls from their own studios.

Track & Field back at the Bird’s nest in Beijing
Swimming in Australia
Basketball back at Disney
Soccer in New Zealand
gymnastics in Germany
Tokyo could pick from a number of manageable sports to still be a host city
There will be no shortage of venues viable for limited use with sufficient hotels to create mini bubbles. They could easily spread them out evenly over the continents. (Antartica might be a stretch.)

I think the world could really use the Olympics this year and it would be an absolute shame to cancel or postpone because they want to hold them in a traditional way.
So basically like how every sport has a World Championship every year, but re-branded and scheduled within a two-week period?
 

mpjc

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Track & Field back at the Bird’s nest in Beijing
Swimming in Australia
Basketball back at Disney
Soccer in New Zealand
gymnastics in Germany
Tokyo could pick from a number of manageable sports to still be a host city
I imagine Tokyo would want to host swimming and gymnastics, marquee events in which the Japanese teams consistently medal. They built an aquatic center for these games.
 

RIFan

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I imagine Tokyo would want to host swimming and gymnastics, marquee events in which the Japanese teams consistently medal. They built an aquatic center for these games.
Makes sense. I’d assume they get to pick whatever they want and still get host privileges of having athletes is all events.
 

axx

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Unless the IOC procures its own supply
Sounds like the IOC is going to try to do just that. Getting the vaccine is probally the easy part; Something tells me Pooty Poot would love the publicity if his vaccine saves the olympics.
 

Quintanariffic

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IOC would never move basketball into any part of the calendar that conflicts with NBA ply.

I think we need to recognize that for the most part now, every Olympic venue is really just a TV studio, and can be scaled to accommodate that, while also functioning as an actually sustainable facility, in support of its sport, after the Olympics.

The reason we get stuck with so many “White Elephant” venues isn’t that they’re really useless, it’s that they’re over-engineered. One of the arguments against the Boston bid was, “How come we gotta build a velodrome?”; And truth is, New England really does need a velodrome - but a modest, sustainable building, not a “Church built for Easter Sunday” $50 Millon extravagance...but, “Olympics”.
This is well said. It’s the Intl Federations, who only get one time to shine every 4 years, that push the organizing committees to build these unsustainable, guilded palaces for obscure sports.

FWIW, any talk of further postponement is poppycock. A further delay would cost billions of dollars with 10,000 people on staff and the need to renegotiate (again) all of the venue and hospitality contracts. Not gonna happen. Will sooner be cancelled, though they seems extremely unlikely to me.
 
can't they A) require athletes to be vaccinated; and B) only allow travelers into Japan that can confirm proof of vaccination?
I'm supposed to be going to Tokyo to do the world feed commentary on all of the baseball and softball games. Should I be able to jump the queue and get a vaccine on that basis? (Spoiler: no, I shouldn't...but if I can't get a vaccine in time, and most of the other commentators and camera operators and technical personnel - etc. - can't get one either, this isn't a workable solution.)
 

Fred not Lynn

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This is well said. It’s the Intl Federations, who only get one time to shine every 4 years, that push the organizing committees to build these unsustainable, guilded palaces for obscure sports.
Shame, too, because those who run less well known sports would better serve their sport by using the Olympic Games as a showcase to how to grow and spread their sport through moderate and reasonable facilities that are used as community assets around the world, every year.

If they did that, maybe their sport would get to shine more often than once every 4 years!
 

axx

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I'm supposed to be going to Tokyo to do the world feed commentary on all of the baseball and softball games. Should I be able to jump the queue and get a vaccine on that basis? (Spoiler: no, I shouldn't...but if I can't get a vaccine in time, and most of the other commentators and camera operators and technical personnel - etc. - can't get one either, this isn't a workable solution.)
That part shouldn't be a problem since we are talking about July. The real problem would be spectators and other random people going there despite refusing to take the vaccine. Then you have the logistical problem of getting the vaccine into athletes in countries like in Africa where the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine isn't going to work due to cold storage requirements.
 

Nick Kaufman

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My solution would be to make these a Global Games. The logistics or bringing thousands of athletes, coaches,,support staff etc to one location are daunting. The logistics of staging events at venues all over the world should be less so from a quarantine and safety standpoint. Bubbles are doable and effective if you can limit the participants like the NBA and NHL did and Australia is doing now with the Open. Opening and closing ceremonies would go virtual and some sports may not be able to be worked out, but the core of the games including the money such as soccer and basketball can be in bubbles that allow them to be held safely. It creates some challenges for the broadcast networks, but it’s not like they have to each send crews all over the world. Set up a couple of common feeds and do all the play calls from their own studios.

Track & Field back at the Bird’s nest in Beijing
Swimming in Australia
Basketball back at Disney
Soccer in New Zealand
gymnastics in Germany
Tokyo could pick from a number of manageable sports to still be a host city
There will be no shortage of venues viable for limited use with sufficient hotels to create mini bubbles. They could easily spread them out evenly over the continents. (Antartica might be a stretch.)

I think the world could really use the Olympics this year and it would be an absolute shame to cancel or postpone because they want to hold them in a traditional way.
How about bring the Olympics home permanently?

Though I have to add that I am concerned that if the Olympics came permanently to Greece, it will have some adverse, unintended consequences.
 

candylandriots

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I'm supposed to be going to Tokyo to do the world feed commentary on all of the baseball and softball games. Should I be able to jump the queue and get a vaccine on that basis? (Spoiler: no, I shouldn't...but if I can't get a vaccine in time, and most of the other commentators and camera operators and technical personnel - etc. - can't get one either, this isn't a workable solution.)
Couldn’t the announcers conceivably do their jobs from their home countries while watching on the live feed? It’s probably far from perfect, but that is possible, right? (I’m honestly asking)
 
Couldn’t the announcers conceivably do their jobs from their home countries while watching on the live feed? It’s probably far from perfect, but that is possible, right? (I’m honestly asking)
I seriously doubt it - the logistical infrastructure required to broadcast the Olympics is so massive, and the planning that has gone into everything so in-depth, I can't imagine that the OBS would be able to just wing it like that. How would you test all of the commentary connections to make sure they're all working? What if something goes wrong? And so on.
 

lexrageorge

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I guess I don't get the resistance to moving the games to 2022. For one, they will likely be a lot more fun for everyone involved at that point, as CoVid-related restrictions will likely be significantly relaxed by then (or the world has much bigger problems than the Olympics). Sure, there are likely impacts downstream, but seems like smart folks can mitigate those with enough advance planning.
 

Quintanariffic

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It will cost Tokyo billions to extend staff for another year and re-negotiate venue/hospitality agreements. It will also kill the chances for hundreds of athletes to participate due to age or circumstance, which the IOC is loathe to do. Moreover, the entire Olympic Movement (the national organizing committees, sport governing bodies etc...) is built to run deficits in 3 years out of 4 with the promise of a windfall in year 4 when the Olympics hit. Those organizations have already stretched an extra yr with the delay from 20201 to 2021, but have now already eaten their seed corn and can't afford an extra year's delay w/o going over the cliff financially.

The Games will happen in 2021, even if no one is in the stands.
 

Sausage in Section 17

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Couldn’t the announcers conceivably do their jobs from their home countries while watching on the live feed? It’s probably far from perfect, but that is possible, right? (I’m honestly asking)
On CBC, this is what they have been doing with World Cup/FIS ski events. The casual viewer wouldn't notice.
Edit- This was also the case with the Korean League baseball games that were being carried by ESPN last Spring.
 

Quintanariffic

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pfffft

Florida wants to host.
https://nypost.com/2021/01/26/florida-pushing-to-host-2021-olympics-instead-of-tokyo/
I don't think either SFL or Gulf/ORL have all of the facilities needed without teaming up, but I could be wrong. One positive for Florida is they could definitely socially distance the baseball prelim rounds, lol.
It's difficult to imagine something that would be more Florida than this "offer". It's as if the captain of the high school dance club reached out to the Coach of the varsity baseball team to offer her assistance upon hearing that the star of the team went down with an injury. They are completely confident of their ability to deliver on an undertaking for which they are completely unprepared, but sure.
 

JayMags71

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I seriously doubt it - the logistical infrastructure required to broadcast the Olympics is so massive, and the planning that has gone into everything so in-depth, I can't imagine that the OBS would be able to just wing it like that. How would you test all of the commentary connections to make sure they're all working? What if something goes wrong? And so on.
You obviously know more about this than I, but I’m still confused. Ray Hudson and Phil Schoen call games from thousands of miles away every week. Are you saying that model isn’t scalable for the olympics?

You’re an industry professional, so I defer to your knowledge. I’m just surprised that’s the case.
 
On CBC, this is what they have been doing with World Cup/FIS ski events. The casual viewer wouldn't notice.
Edit- This was also the case with the Korean League baseball games that were being carried by ESPN last Spring.
You obviously know more about this than I, but I’m still confused. Ray Hudson and Phil Schoen call games from thousands of miles away every week. Are you saying that model isn’t scalable for the olympics?

You’re an industry professional, so I defer to your knowledge. I’m just surprised that’s the case.
It's not about me commentating from home - I'm doing that already. Seven middle-of-the-night WTA tennis matches coming up from Melbourne in a four-day stretch starting on Saturday night/Sunday morning, in fact! But to commentate from home on the WTA, DAZN (the company in charge of the production, including our commentary) had to courier an expensive piece of equipment to me, a version of the same control box that I use when I'm in their studio in Leeds, in England. Those boxes don't grow on trees, and of course I had to test it on Tuesday ahead of my first match on Saturday night, with technicians both in Leeds and DAZN's European transmission center in the Netherlands and with a WTA supervisor listening into my test commentary to make sure everything was satisfactory (particularly in terms of my internet connection speed).

Now...all of us commentators working on the WTA tournaments this week are based in the UK. There are 20 of us just for the WTA events (never mind the ATP events taking place at the same time), most of us working from home with our own control boxes and microphones/headsets/etc. shipped out to us. The commentate-from-home solution for us was designed specifically to take advantage of DAZN's existing infrastructure in Leeds and the Netherlands. In contrast, the OBS's plans for world feed commentary for the Olympics will involve who knows how many hundreds of commentators from multiple countries (I think mostly in Europe), and I think in multiple languages, and its plans have all been geared toward coordinating everything out of the International Broadcast Center in Tokyo. Is it *possible* that a technological solution could be found to allow everyone to work from home - assuming everyone signed up for the job already has super-fast and mostly reliable broadband like I do - despite the vast distances between the majority of us not already based in Asia and the IBC in Tokyo? Perhaps, but almost certainly at great expense and without a foolproof workflow established by July. Many networks around the world will normally cover the Olympics using domestically based commentators, usually in a central studio location (like for example I commentated out of London for Eurosport on the 2018 Winter Olympics) but in these COVID times possibly from home...but they are normally only responsible for covering a portion of the events, not every last event and match across every sport, and they can all operate within those networks' existing infrastructure. It's really the volume of events across every sport and the infrastructure required to transmit them successfully that really makes the task so difficult, and even little things like having access to the official Olympic stats feed in real time (and not with a small delay as you almost certainly would at home) will make a big difference in how professional everything will sound. When I did the Winter Olympics hockey three years ago, and this stats feed was properly wired into the Eurosport studios, I can't tell you how great it was to have the players responsible for goals/assists and penalties as well as all other stats and timings flash up exactly as they did in the stadium I was watching, instead of having to use my normal trick of following the stats feed off of a betting website with a not-insignificant delay. And that was hockey, not a sport where knowing the split-second timings or scorings can make all the difference to how the commentary might come across.

I could be wrong about all of this, by the way. Maybe the OBS is seriously considering work-from-home arrangements right now, and that if push comes to shove I might find myself working through the middle of the night again this July (but from home instead of London). But I haven't heard any suggestion that this might happen from my OBS handlers. Instead, I find myself wondering if I might have to fly to Tokyo two weeks earlier than planned and go through a 14-day quarantine similar to what the tennis commentators now in Melbourne to call the Australian Open onsite are curerntly going through. That seems more realistic than the alternative, even given the additional costs that might entail for the OBS (and IOC).
 

barbed wire Bob

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This is one more problem the Tokyo Olympics didn’t really need.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14162815
Former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, who is president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee was forced to apologize for making derogatory comments earlier in the week about women.
At the JOC Council meeting, Mori prefaced his comment as a “private opinion” and said: “A meeting of an executive board that includes many women would take time. Women are competitive. When someone raises his or her hand and speaks, they probably think they should speak, too. That is why they all end up making comments.”

He added, “I was told that if the JOC plans to increase female members of the executive boards (of sports organizations), meetings will be drawn out unless the time allotted for each speaker is limited to some extent. I will not say who said so.”
He was forced to apologize but he refused to resign and became a little testy when asked about his refusal.
While Mori was initially apologetic at the Feb. 4 news conference, he lost his patience as about 40 reporters peppered him with questions about what he really meant by his previous day’s comments and whether he was fit to remain the Olympic organizing committee president.

“If all of you say I am getting in the way, then perhaps it may be true that this ‘problem elder’ has become like a large piece of garbage,” Mori said at one point. “If that is the case, by all means just sweep me away.”

When one reporter asked Mori if he thought he should continue as committee president, Mori shot back, “What do you think?”
 
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mauf

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I spoke to someone in the know today. (Sorry I can’t say more.) This person’s take was that the Olympics will definitely happen, but there won’t be fans. I guess plans are fairly far along on the logistics of having everyone arrive well in advance and quarantine for 14 days.
 
An update on the broadcasting side of things: I emailed my contacts at the OBS a few days ago to ask what if any contingencies might be in place for us commentators. The short answer is that we're still planning to report to Tokyo as per our original schedule - as I suspected, they don't have the ability to facilitate commentators working from home, but they're not planning on having us arrive two weeks early to quarantine as such either. Instead, the basic idea is that we'll all need to be particularly careful to quasi-quarantine at home for the two weeks before we fly over and then get proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of our first departing flight. Once we're in Japan, we're not supposed to use any public transportation without permission, keep at least one meter from other co-workers at all times, avoid enclosed spaces and crowds where possible, and so on. We also need to make sure we have access to enough face masks to last throughout our stay in Japan, which could be quite a few given the heat and humidity likely to in place. I've been sent the link to a 36-page "Playbook" for broadcasters, and other similar documentation for different types of workers heading to Tokyo, and basically, I don't think I'm going to have any sort of touristy experiences while I'm there - or really, much fun at all - but it certainly feels like the Games are going ahead.