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What kind of champion withdraws at the Olympics?

One who can recognize her limits and stop before she crashes into them. And so in dropping out of the team gymnastics competition at the Tokyo Olympics, Simone Biles, the best gymnast America has ever produced, issued a statement as powerful as anything she’s done in competition: She said “enough.”

After an unusual underperformance at the preliminaries — by her own high standards — Biles realized she could not execute her planned vault in the team finals. After some deliberation, she bowed out.

“At the end of the day, we’re human, too, so we have to protect our mind and our body rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do,” she told reporters after the competition, in which her team earned Olympic silver medals.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ya me cansé de ver todo con escepticismo, así que estoy viendo los Juegos Olímpicos

Cuando era niña en los años noventa, no tenía fotos de estrellas de cine en la pared de mi cuarto: tenía a Joan Benoit Samuelson. Corriendo hacia la victoria en el primer maratón olímpico femenino, lucía segura, alegre y fuerte. Leí sobre la velocista Wilma Rudolph, la vigésima hija de un maletero del ferrocarril de Tennessee. De niña llevaba aparatos metálicos en las piernas, pero llegó a ser una campeona olímpica; también pegué su foto en mi pared. Más tarde vi a varias campeonas en mi televisor: Venus Williams en tenis; Jackie Joyner-Kersee en atletismo y Misty Hyman en natación. Todas ellas eran perfectas para mi pared.…  Seguir leyendo »

Flag bearers carry the flag of Japan before a men’s field hockey match between Japan and Argentina at the Summer Olympics on Sunday. (John Locher/AP)

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are in full swing, delayed a year by the covid-19 pandemic. This two-week spectacle of athletes competing under their national banners inevitably launches conversations about nationalism.

Nationalism is woven into the fabric of the Olympic Games. Host countries spend millions to spotlight their national achievements during the opening ceremonies, from China’s extensive fireworks in 2008 to the 2012 tribute to England’s National Health Service.

Nationalism captivates citizens, too. Athletes compete for national pride and spectators drape themselves in flags to cheer for their compatriots — and bask in their country’s victories.

The Olympic truce invites countries to pause conflicts and pledge to build “a peaceful and better world through sport.”…  Seguir leyendo »

España y los Juegos Olímpicos

Hoy se inauguran los Juegos de verano de la XXXII Olimpiada, más conocidos como Juegos Olímpicos de Tokio 2020. No existe error en el año. El evento tuvo que aplazarse hace doce meses como consecuencia de la Covid-19 y fue reprogramado para julio-agosto de 2021. Han existido, sin embargo, dudas hasta el último momento sobre la conveniencia de su celebración. Y, de hecho, estas continúan mientras escribo esta tribuna, motivadas en estos últimos días por el preocupante crecimiento de casos de contagio entre los deportistas ya instalados en la villa olímpica y otros miembros de los equipos. El apoyo de la opinión pública nipona a la Olimpiada está cayendo, movido por el miedo a las aglomeraciones y, sobre todo, a la entrada en el país de miles de personas de diferentes puntos del planeta.…  Seguir leyendo »

El Monumento del Anillo Olímpico en Odaiba, un día antes de la ceremonia de inauguración de los Juegos Olímpicos de Tokio 2020, en Japón, el 22 de julio de 2021. (Kimimasa Mayama/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Ante la ceremonia de encendido de la antorcha de los Juegos Olímpicos de Tokio, al parecer hay demasiado ímpetu y dinero en juego como para cancelar. ¿El estado de emergencia declarado en medio de un nuevo brote de COVID-19? Solo es un contratiempo menor.

Una de las decisiones tomadas por dinero más descaradas y arrogantes contra la humanidad en la historia del deporte moderno está a punto de concretarse en un país donde hasta hace unas semanas solo cerca del 16% de la población estaba completamente vacunada, 83% de los ciudadanos dice querer que los Juegos Olímpicos sean cancelados o nuevamente reprogramados, e incluso el emperador ha expresado su preocupación de que los Juegos ayuden a propagar el coronavirus.…  Seguir leyendo »

Coco Gauff hits tennis balls into the stands after winning her qualifying match for the Citi Open against Maegan Manasse at the Rock Creek Tennis Center on July 27, 2019, in Washington. (Marlena Sloss/The Washington Post)

The bad news is that the Tokyo Olympics, which history will surely remember as “The Coronavirus Games,” are off to a calamitous start. Worse, the opening ceremonies don’t even take place until the end of the week.

The difficulty — or perhaps the insanity — of bringing thousands of athletes, coaches, trainers and support personnel from around the world into a tight cluster during a global pandemic, in a mostly unvaccinated country, has already become obvious. Those of us who love the Olympics have to worry that things may go downhill from here.

An alternate for the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, which is expected to win a chest-ful of medals, tested positive for the coronavirus while training in Inzai City, near Tokyo, organizers announced Monday.…  Seguir leyendo »

Un recordatorio del distanciamiento social se ve en el Centro de Prensa Principal de los Juegos Olímpicos de Tokio 2020 durante el brote de la enfermedad por coronavirus (COVID-19) en Tokio, Japón, el 16 de julio de 2021. (REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

Una historia de los Juegos Olímpicos de Tokio 2020 podría comenzar en Buenos Aires. Fue en el hotel Hilton de Puerto Madero, el 7 de septiembre de 2013, que la capital japonesa quedó elegida como sede olímpica. En ese juego de lobbies, de diplomacia del deporte, Tokio le ganó la votación a Estambul y Madrid. Lo hizo bajo la idea de la reconstrucción. Ya había alojado a los Juegos en 1964, dos décadas después de haber perdido la Segunda Guerra Mundial, en la era Shōwa del emperador Hiroito. Si el símbolo de entonces era Hiroshima, en la era Reiwa de su nieto, el emperador Naruhito, Japón quería mostrarle al mundo que había superado al desastre nuclear de Fukushima.…  Seguir leyendo »

Lightning illuminates the sky over the Olympic rings and the Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo on July 11. (Kyodo News/AP)

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a coronavirus state of emergency on July 8, the fourth since the start of the pandemic. To minimize transmission of the virus, Japan decided that the Tokyo Olympics, already postponed by a year, will be held without spectators.

With just days to go until the Opening Ceremonies, these announcements have increased international concern about the safety of more than 11,000 athletes representing over 200 nations. There are reports of contagion at venues hosting the athletes despite Japan’s coronavirus bubble. And the announcements raise the political stakes for the Suga government as it eyes upcoming parliamentary elections amid low approval numbers.…  Seguir leyendo »

People against the July opening of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, gather to protest around the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building during a demonstration on June 23. (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

It’s always the athletes lugging the mop, rubber gloves and disinfectant into the Olympics.

It’s always the task of the young and magnificent, who seek only the chance to test and prove the wonderful things they can do, to purify the ugliness of their grasping elders.

When the International Olympic Committee (IOC) cheerfully collaborated with Hitler in 1936, it fell to Jesse Owens to clean up the story. Sprinting and leaping, the brilliant Black man won four gold medals and redeemed the atrocity.

The IOC was no better in 1968, ho-humming as Mexican authorities shot students protesting their government. No better in 1972, when awful Avery Brundage, the longtime ogre at the head of the IOC, was muted in Munich as Israeli athletes were murdered.…  Seguir leyendo »

Simone Biles durante las pruebas de gimnasia olímpica femenina de Estados Unidos el viernes 25 de junio de 2021 en St. Louis. Tras el retraso por la pandemia de COVID-19, los Juegos Olímpicos de Tokio 2020 comienzan el 23 de julio de 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

El famoso lema olímpico, traducido del latín, es “más rápido, más alto, más fuerte”. A los juegos de Tokio, que comenzarán con la ceremonia de inauguración del 23 de julio, deberíamos agregarle una cuarta exhortación: más silencioso.

Mucho más silencioso. De hecho, los organizadores anunciaron el jueves 8 de julio que ningún espectador podrá acceder a los eventos a realizarse en la capital japonesa y sus alrededores. La decisión se tomó tras el anuncio del primer ministro japonés, Yoshihide Suga, de decretar a Tokio en estado de emergencia debido al aumento de las infecciones de COVID-19 provocadas por la peligrosa variante delta.…  Seguir leyendo »

Should the Olympics Be Canceled?

When the prime minister of Japan and the president of the International Olympic Committee decided last March to postpone the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, the hope was that the pandemic would be a thing of the past by now.

But the coronavirus had other plans: With five weeks to go before the opening ceremony, cases and variants are still surging in much of the world. Public health experts have expressed grave concerns about the Games’ potential to become a global superspreader event, and a May poll found that 83 percent of the Japanese public did not want them to go forward.…  Seguir leyendo »

¿Cuál es el sentido de las Olimpiadas?

Kaori Yamaguchi, medallista olímpica de judo y miembro ejecutivo el Comité Olímpico japonés, hizo una sorprendente afirmación… es decir, sorprendente para un funcionario olímpico. Dijo que Japón había sido “arrinconado” para celebrar los Juegos de este año durante una pandemia. ¿Con qué fin y para quiénes serán estos Juegos Olímpicos? Los Juegos ya han perdido significado y se celebran solo por celebrarlos. Creo que ya perdimos la oportunidad de cancelarlos.”

No está sola. Un experto médico japonés de primer nivel advirtió que los Juegos podrían generar nuevos brotes de COVID-19 y que “no sería normal” seguir adelante en las actuales circunstancias.…  Seguir leyendo »

A couple poses for a selfie with an Olympic Rings monument at Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo on Wednesday. (Kimimasa Mayama/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Pressure is growing for Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to again postpone this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. The games should go on as scheduled, and the world should chip in to help ensure the Japanese people stay safe as they do.

The covid-19 pandemic has already forced the Games to be postponed once, from last summer to this July. Olympic leaders had thought that would give Japan enough time to prepare, but the country is experiencing yet another wave of infections. While mild by comparison to the pain endured by other countries, it is serious enough for Japan to have imposed a state of emergency in Tokyo and other major metropolitan areas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesters march in Tokyo last week to call for the cancellation of the Olympics. Photograph: Koji Sasahara/AP

The Olympic torch is currently making its way across Japan in a live-streamed relay – at the time of writing, it had passed through 28 of all 47 prefectures in the country. The Games are scheduled to take place in two months. But whereas you might expect the national mood to be crackling with excitement, things are different, with more and more Japanese people reaching an uncomfortable conclusion: the Games need to be scrapped altogether.

A recent poll shows more than 80% of the public want the Tokyo Olympics to be either cancelled or postponed again, an option the International Olympic Committee has ruled out.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Tokyo Olympics are in big trouble. Postponed by a year and slated to begin in July, the Olympics have become a political flash point in Japan, where almost 60 percent of the population opposes staging the Games this summer and where less than 2 percent of the population is vaccinated for Covid-19.

The International Olympic Committee, local Olympic organizers and Japan’s ruling party maintain that the Games must go on, even amid pandemic conditions. As Covid cases surged in Japan in January, Thomas Bach, the I.O.C.’s president, said he had “no reason whatsoever to believe that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will not open on July 23.”…  Seguir leyendo »

Uyghur protesters hold signs during a demonstration against China in Istanbul on Thursday. (Tolga Bozoglu/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Coca-Cola chairman James Quincey recently slammed the state of Georgia for its new election law. “We all have a duty to protect everyone’s right to vote, and we will continue to stand up for what is right in Georgia and across the U.S.,” he said.

Across the U.S. — and no further?

As Western businesses prepare to salute China at the Beijing Winter Olympics next February, the chairman of the China-Britain Business Council offered an all-purpose explanation of why it’s okay to do business with the Communists who are committing genocide 1,600 miles west of the ski slopes and skating rinks.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Olympics Are On! But Why?

The torch relay run that has opened the Olympics since 1936 started on Thursday from Fukushima, Japan, delayed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Games will be held this summer, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Sunday, “as a proof of humanity’s victory over the novel coronavirus” — even though there is no sign that Japan, let alone humanity, will defeat the coronavirus any time soon.

Japan has fared better than the United States and many European countries — with about 450,000 cases of infection and about 8,900 deaths, for a population of about 125 million. But infection rates are creeping up, and the vaccine rollout has been painfully slow.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Right Way to Boycott the Beijing Olympics

As the Beijing Olympic Games approach, it is increasingly clear that China, under the control of the Chinese Communist Party does not deserve an Olympic showcase. Because it is too late to move the Winter Games scheduled for Beijing next February, some have proposed, understandably, that the United States boycott the Games.

China deserves our condemnation. The Chinese Communist Party has reneged on its agreement to allow Hong Kong self rule; it has brutally suppressed peaceful demonstrators and incarcerated respected journalists. It is exacting genocide against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities; Uighur women are forcefully sterilized or impregnated by Han Chinese men.…  Seguir leyendo »

The National Alpine Skiing Center, a venue of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, in Beijing's Yanqing district on Feb. 5. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

The 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin has passed into history as a grotesque totalitarian spectacle, thanks partly to Leni Riefenstahl’s memorialization of the games in her propaganda film “Olympia.”

Less remembered is the fact that Nazi Germany also hosted the 1936 Winter Games, at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps, between Feb. 6 and Feb. 16. Just five months before this snowy athletic jamboree, the Reichstag had promulgated the anti-Jewish Nuremberg race laws.

And three weeks after the closing ceremonies, on March 7, 1936, Adolf Hitler ordered his army to occupy the Rhineland, in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. Both the Winter and Summer Games went on despite calls for a boycott from activists concerned that the Olympics would help legitimize Hitler’s regime.…  Seguir leyendo »

C’est pour les Jeux olympiques de Berlin, en 1936, que le premier boycottage des Jeux eut lieu. Après l’instauration du régime nazi avec son racisme, sa xénophobie et son antisémitisme institutionnel, plusieurs pays demandèrent ce boycottage et organisèrent des jeux de substitution à Barcelone. Quarante-neuf pays et près de 4000 athlètes participèrent aux Jeux de Berlin ; 6000 athlètes de 22 pays s’inscrivirent à ceux de Barcelone, hélas interrompus par le pronunciamiento de Franco le 18 juillet 1936.

Le second boycottage fut celui des Jeux de Montréal en 1976, par 22 nations africaines, protestant contre la présence de la Nouvelle-Zélande, à laquelle ils reprochaient d’avoir envoyé son équipe de rugby à une tournée en Afrique du Sud, pays exclu des Jeux olympiques depuis 1962 à cause de sa politique d’apartheid.…  Seguir leyendo »