Tokyo: The spirit of the Olympic Games is so bright that one cannot get wet with a mask. The pandemic could not kill our love of sports. If anything, it has instilled in us more deeply that distinctive athletic thrill of celebrating goosebumps with fist bumps.
As the Summer Games begin in Japan on Friday night, 364 long and worrying days after COVID-19 delayed the original start date, every seat in the stadium may be a reminder of someone we love who is no longer here. But every time an American athlete waves at the TV camera to send a kiss back home, it will also assure nothing can defeat our spirit. We lived a year, no one wants to repeat it as we hang together in tears.
What sentiments will athletes from 205 countries share during the opening ceremony of the Games of the XXXII Olympiad? I think it would be fair to say that the sentiments would be conflicting. more complicated.
“Well, it could be a collective grief from the pandemic that is clearly still raging,” said American football icon Megan Rapinoe. “In many parts of the world, it can be a relief to finally do things again. And hopefully a sense of joy to do something and to see.
Basketball star Sue Bird, a four-time Olympic champion who is engaged to be married to Rapinoe, will be the flag bearer for Team USA during the Parade of Nations. “It’s an honor that’s bigger than the moment … and it will be forever,” Bird said.
She understands that hearts beat in red, white, and blue from the Games because, despite our differences, the Olympics bring to the fore our shared pride for living in America.
We love to watch gymnastics, track and sports, we only pay attention to sports every four years despite stupid budgets and drug cheats in the starting blocks. I believe we can’t give up on sports as they are like life. A great mess that somehow brings out the best in the human soul
Earlier this week, over the course of 12 uneasy hours, I was engulfed in red tape at Narita airport, sitting in a chair in a corner while Japan decided whether to put an ink-stained wretched like me in the country. It was a wise idea to let go as the COVID number. The one bad pick that cemented my smile was a never-ending rainbow coalition of athletes, from a barrel-chested Canadian lifter to a reed-thin Nigerian runner, slowly through the airport crowd Walking, dealing with bureaucratic frustrations just like me.
His motivation to endure the trouble was for the purest reasons: We all want to go out and play.
These games can serve as a reward for enduring the agony and uncertainties of the last 18 months of the pandemic. Adeline Gray, a 30-year-old world champion wrestler and Denver native, deferred her dream of starting a family for a year to pursue a gold medal in Tokyo.
“It’s the rockiest road I’ve ever had to stand on,” Gray told me. But now that he’s ready to step onto the mat, every rocky inch of the journey is worth it.
The connection between the athlete on the field and the fan in the stands is a real and beautiful thing. So it’s a pity that the state of medical emergency declared in Tokyo, the city’s huge diamond that shimmers at an entrance to the Pacific Ocean, will pique the joy of enthusiastic crowds in stadiums and alleyways.
There is no doubt that this pandemic has made a huge economic and emotional dent in sports. However, COVID-19 cannot quell the Olympic spirit.
The men and women of the US wrestling team spend the days before the biggest competition of their lives training in Nakatsugawa, a small mountain community about 185 miles from Tokyo.
Earlier this week, as American wrestlers left the hotel and rolled around town, they were taken aback by random acts of kindness by their new, temporary neighbors. Although Japan has good reason to be wary about inviting over 20,000 athletes, staff and journalists from every corner of the world to the country, as Gray and her teammates were wrapped in warm virtual hugs by the good people of Nakatsugawa I went.
“We were driving our bus to practice and the streets were full of people,” said two-time world champion wrestler Kyle Deke. “They let kids out of schools to take to the street and wave American flags, cheering us up… To feel that support from our host country, I didn’t know what to think. But it’s amazing enough.” was.”
A Japanese kid made a simple welcome sign that made an American wrestler feel like a hometown hero half a world away from America. There must have been some real magic in that kid marker if he could explain the true meaning of the Olympic spirit so simply and beautifully, don’t you think?
Despite all the warts associated with this over-the-top athletic palooza, we can’t stop loving sports, as they find a way to bring out the best in all of us.