The time has come to press pause and reimagine the Olympics. It might even be time, I’ve come to believe, for the entire endeavor to close down for good.
What say you?
First, consider the near term.
In July, yet another wildly overbudget Summer Games, originally slated for 2020 but postponed because of the pandemic, will begin in Tokyo.
The timing remains awful.
Japan has worked hard to tamp down the coronavirus, but now cases are creeping up, and the nation’s vaccination rate is lagging. Organizers just rerouted the torch relay planned this week to reach the streets of Osaka, where one health official said the spread of new variants had pushed the medical system to “the verge of collapse.”
Into this troubled environment, 11,000 athletes from all corners of the globe will descend, along with coaches, officials, Olympic support staff, media workers and more. The Tokyo Games could end up being a three-week superspreader event that leads to death and illness across Japan and far beyond.