With the Tokyo Summer Olympics just a little over two weeks away and national teams already arriving in Japan, a state of emergency is set to go into effect. This means that this Summer Olympics will take place without any spectators.
No Spectators for the Summer Olympics
While foreign spectators had already been banned, organizers had been granted permission for up to 10,000 local spectators at the various venues. While this would certainly resulted in one-sided cheering for the Japanese athletes (though there are locals that are expats from other countries as well), it would have likely been helpful for all athletes to at least have a crowd to perform in front of. These athletes know how to stay completely focused but the roars of crowds do help them (especially for the marathon when the runners enter the stadium for the last 1/4 mile – runners have said that is a huge moment they long had waited for).
However, the Japanese government, in response to a growing number of Covid cases yet again, has announced that a state of emergency will go into effect as of next Monday and stay until August 22. They say this could be shortened depending on how the viral trend goes but, for now, that is the duration of the state of emergency.
This means that, officially, there will be no spectators at all in attendance, not for the opening and closing ceremonies nor for any of the events that will be taking place. This is certainly a huge blow to those that had been looking forward to attending and even to Japan. Putting on an Olympics is a big deal that typically brings millions of visitors to the country. The Japanese people have also been very proud of their city and country (and it is a very beautiful place to showcase) and they had looked forward to extending the well-known Japanese hospitality to visitors from all over the globe.
It would not only have been a source of pride for the country but also a way to bring in a lot of money. It costs a fortunate to put on an Olympic games and it is extremely rare for the host country to recoup those costs, let alone profit from the Olympics. With hotels (some built specifically for the Olympics), dining establishments, travel carriers, stores, and more, this will be a huge blow to the Japanese economy with no foreign visitors making it to the games. Of course, the athletes will still be there but they have their own stated protocols they need to follow (see this post).
At least it will be broadcast on television! I am looking forward to cheering on many of the great US athletes that will be fighting for gold – or, at the very least, giving their best effort for country.