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Tokyo 2020: Let Them Play

The country of Japan internally concluded that they would be unable to host the Tokyo Olympics due to pandemic concerns. However, just two weeks after that announcement, last Tuesday, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic President Yoshiro Mori said that the games would go on beginning July 23, 2021, as planned.

The games were already delayed once last year due to overwhelming COVID-19 cases, upsetting many people. The Olympic committees of other countries offer their confidence in the safety of the games moving forward. After Mori was quoted saying the prioritization of the health and safety of the athletes involved in this event is his most pressing concern.

The nature of the Olympic village brings to light another moral issue that has many in the Olympic community divided. Some nations are focusing on vaccinating their athletes who intend to compete in the games. While others believe that since athletes are considered some of the healthiest among the population they are therefore low-risk for contracting the virus and not a priority during vaccine dispersal. Furthermore, should it be mandated that every participating country take the same inoculation route? This would put wealthier countries at an unfair advantage, as they are more likely to be able to secure higher amounts of the vaccine.

It is difficult to imagine an Olympic Village where all participants have not been vaccinated. Simply because the nature of the living quarters is not conducive to social distancing, there are thousands of athletes, trainers, officials, and various other staffers sharing a rather small space for several weeks on end. It would be irresponsible not to anticipate at least one athlete acquiring and spreading the virus during that time.

The World Health Organization gave a statement last week that there are not enough vaccines available to be able to safely prioritize athletes, and that focus needs to be placed instead on the high-risk community.


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