The pandemic has had a drastic impact on our leisure time. Netflix cannot produce content fast enough, the Euros ended after Luke Shaw’s goal when England won 1-0, and the pubs have already taken all of our money. Luckily, a little event in Tokyo could not have come soon enough.
The Olympics arrived, and the population could forget the death toll as they critiqued the technique of athletes competing in sports that they have never heard of.
It was impossible for such an event to go ahead without a few Covid-related-problems and the virus seriously impacted some athlete’s ability to compete.
An obvious problem is socially distanced martial arts. Judo players have had to perform their moves two metres from their opponent forcing judges to imagine the effectiveness of the moves they are seeing. To increase the value of the judge’s opinions, the Olympic committee drafted in adolescent boys who have claimed in the past that they beat up blokes twice their size. They are violent with no skills, size, or history of actually fighting, but boy can they judge hypothetical fights.
In the pool, athletes hoping to swim their way to Olympic glory found the requirement to wear masks as they compete difficult to overcome. The formerly ridiculed Olympic lifeguards had their work cut out for them this year, with many races ending with half of the competitors who started.
Gymnasts hoping to get some late-night athletic practice also struggled to perform thanks to the ‘anti-sex’ beds installed by the Olympic committee. The cardboard beds aimed to limit social contact and couldn’t support excessive motion. While many complained about the limiting of other late-night activities, pommel horse specialists commented, “those horny sprinters made it impossible to train in my room at night. I wasn’t able to perform when it came to competition time”.
Contrastingly, a British long-distance runner who had been plagued by quarantining issues benefitted from restrictions being enforced. The runner’s period of isolation ended halfway through the marathon, a problem that initially seemed insurmountable. However, in a show of humanity, the Olympic committee arranged a taxi for her over the first half of the marathon, allowing her to catch up with the fellow competitors. She achieved an Olympic record this year despite the difficulties of restriction.
The athletes may be hoping for a jeweller to inspect their medals, following an incident after the triple jump final. The need to sanitize the medals before handing them over revealed to a shocked athlete that the gold was actually cheap paint, with the strong sanitizer removing the gleam from the award.
This was not the first incident on the track that caused controversy. A pole vaulter, tipped as one of the favourites, created a storm by confessing that he was an adamant anti-vaxxer, posting a series of posts on social media encouraging people to avoid the jab. Although he was able to compete, misfortune struck when his arm was impaled by a javelin whilst handing out anti-vaccination leaflets.
The pandemic created many problems in the Olympic village, but the athletes and fans were in high spirits. After the year we’ve had, what could be better than watching the hopes of some of the best athletes in the world crumble on live television?
The Olympics, despite all the flaws, provided a welcome break in many people’s lives, and the problems of athletes who have devoted their lives to their sport do not matter as much, because at least they are not happening to us.
Image: Sophia Axel via Flickr