Remember the Olympics?
I'll be the first to admit that I am not a huge sports fan. I don't follow the NBA and I tend to wander away from the TV during Football Games, but I do love to watch the Olympics, and that's because it's actually super cool to see whole nations rallying behind one team. It becomes something more than a game. It becomes this uniting cultural moment. It's like a global holiday, and so with a little bit of extra couch time on my hands I was very ready to tune into this summer's Tokyo Olympics the perfect distraction. But the July twenty twenty Olympic. Games aren't going to be held this month. They've been postponed by a full year. This decision wasn't made lightly. And in fact, Japan is working around the clock to try to figure out how to keep their games. Despite a global pandemic, it's part of a long story for decades. Just like their athletes. Countries have competed fiercely to host the Games despite mounting evidence that they usually represent a significant financial loss, and that made us ask why, if not money, what's the games offer that so special and worth so much effort I'm Gabrielle Sierra and this is why it matters today, the Olympics soft power and the deep running politics of the World Games. For many sports, the Olympics is the apex of what they can achieve as athletes, and it's a chance for the world to see incredible incredible athletes out there on the world stage. My name is Julius boy, cough and I. Teach Political Science at Pacific University, Oregon. Professor boy cough has written four books about the Olympics and as it turns out. He's also a former member of the US men's Olympic soccer team. and. That is really why the Olympics have stuck around and Ben so successful. Were it not for the athletes? We wouldn't really have the Olympic Games of course the money shuffle has become a big part of that. We can talk about that later, but for athletes in lesser known sports, sake curling in the Winter Olympics or maybe equestrian or something like that in the Summer Olympics, this is their one chance to make big. Now I think we have to remember that. The Olympics the Olympic Games themselves are a value or ideal driven event. I'm Katherine Moon and I am a professor of political. Science at Wellesley College I study issues related to eastasia particularly the Koreas and I love to talk about culture and values in international politics. As much as we say, it is about pure athleticism and fairer competition. It really was an is about ideals, human, being the human spirit to strive for excellence, and to do once best, and to be proud to be wist others who are excellent in their fields. And I think that's what drives people to go to the Olympics and to watch the Olympics. It's changed my life completely. Cultures and values together. Research big. So. It's July and we were supposed to start watching the summer Olympics in about a week, so what the heck happened! Yeah. The Olympics got corona virus and. They had to push back for a year. When you look back at that moment, there were calls to cancel the Olympics. There were calls to postpone the Olympics and the members of the International Olympic Committee seemed determined to press ahead with the games this at a time when other sports were shutting down, world soccer was shutting down various sports leagues around the world, and yet the International Olympic Committee felt like they needed to press ahead and the real reason why the. International Olympic Committee finally acted was because Canada basically said they were going to do a de facto boycott. If the Games were held in twenty twenty, they were soon followed by. The National Olympic Committees from Australia Portugal Germany, and when that all happened the International Olympic Committee had no choice but to postpone, and that's exactly what they did so now. They're slated for July twenty twenty one. To move has finally been confirmed. The signs are all over Tokyo symbols of what was supposed to be the Japanese revival. A comeback crushed at least for now. We're talking about it. Doesn't it seven years in the making millions of dollars. Two hundred countries at eleven thousand athletes. You can't just pick another date on the calendar. The Olympic Games have only been canceled three times. The first time was in nineteen sixteen during World War One. The second and third time we're in one, thousand, nine, hundred, forty and nineteen, forty, four, due to World War Two. It's still unclear whether the twenty twenty games will become forth historic cancellation. The current plan is to begin them on July Twenty Fourth Two thousand twenty one. But. Many experts are skeptical of this time line, arguing that there is no guarantee that the corona virus will be fully under control in a year. Still the struggle to preserve the twenty twenty games shows just how invested host countries become an success.