News, Sports

Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics: Yes or No?

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The next Olympic Summer Games and Paralympic Summer Games are slated to be held in Tokyo, Japan, in 2021. However, many people who live in Tokyo say the Games shouldn’t happen yet. They say it’s not safe for them because of COVID-19.

Drawing of the mascots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games
The mascot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is Miraitowa (left) and for the Paralympic Games it’s Someity (right). They are fictional characters with superpowers including teleportation. They were created by Japanese artist Ryo Taniguchi, who won a 2018 competition. Japanese school children chose the winning mascots from more than 2,000 entries.

The Summer Games were originally supposed to happen in 2020. They were postponed because of the pandemic, which is why they are known as the “Tokyo 2020” Games.

The summer Olympics and Paralympics are international sporting competitions that (usually) happen every four years, and are hosted by a different city each time. Starting in July (the Paralympics begin in August), more than 11,000 athletes from around the world are slated to gather in Tokyo to compete in 33 different sports.

However, there are so many COVID-19 cases in Tokyo right now that it is in lockdown. In this case, that means people in the city must follow pandemic guidelines, such as wearing masks and remaining at home as much as possible, to help limit the spread of the virus.

Because of that, health professionals in Tokyo and in other countries, are recommending the Olympics be postponed until the situation is under control.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) organizes the games. They announced that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics will go ahead this summer.

There are 33 sports in the Olympics scheduled for this summer. They are: aquatics, archery, athletics, badminton, baseball/softball, basketball, boxing, canoeing, cycling, equestrian, fencing, field hockey, football, golf, gymnastics, handball, judo, karate, pentathlon, rowing, rugby, sailing, shooting, skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, volleyball, weightlifting and wrestling.

There are 23 sports in the summer Paralympics scheduled for this year. They are: archery, athletics, badminton, boccia, canoe sprint, cycling road, cycling track, equestrian, football 5-a-side, goalball, judo, powerlifting, rowing, rugby, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair fencing, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis.

THINK & DISCUSS

Do you think the Olympics and Paralympics should be held or should not be held this summer? Explain your reasons for that opinion. (A T-chart may help you decide. Here’s how: on your T-chart, put the label “Pros” on one side and “Cons” on the other. Now, list all of the positives (pros) about holding the Olympics this summer in Tokyo as scheduled. List the cons.)

Many people in Japan are worried about so many foreign athletes coming to Tokyo. Why is this a concern?

Assuming the Olympics and Paralympics go ahead as scheduled this summer, think about the issues from various points of view including that of the: athletes, people who live in Japan, people with tickets to attend the games, families and friends of the athletes, store owners in Japan, International Olympic Committee members. What other groups have relevant points of view?

Of the 33 Olympic sports listed in the article, are there any you have never heard of before? Are there any you have played or even competed in? Are there any you hope to go to the Olympics to compete in one day? Which ones do you want to learn more about? Which ones do you wish you could try?

Take a look at the 23 Paralympic sports listed in the article. Put them into categories (for instance, “on water,” “played with a ball” or “a martial art”–or any categories that make sense to you). If you wish, make a bar chart showing how many sports fall into each category. Which category has the most sports and which has the fewest?

What sports do you wish were in the Olympics or Paralympics?

The article includes information about the official Tokyo summer games mascots. What else can you find out about them?

LINKS

Tokyo 2020 Paralympics website: https://olympics.com/tokyo-2020/en/paralympics/

Tokyo 2020 Olympics website: https://olympics.com/en/

CBC News article about doctors’ concerns in Osaka, Japan: https://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/tokyo-olympics-osaka-hospitals-buckling-1.6038450

Article in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/may/24/tokyo-olympics-anger-japan-ioc-coronavirus-sacrifices

This New York Times article gives an overview of the Tokyo 2020 summer games: https://time.com/5689792/2020-tokyo-olympics-when-where/

This recent TKN article is about the Canadian and American Olympic and Paralympic closing ceremony outfits: https://teachingkidsnews.com/2021/04/18/the-canadian-tuxedo-and-the-olympics/

This CTV News article includes interviews with Canadians living in Japan: https://www.ctvnews.ca/sports/canadians-in-japan-say-the-olympics-should-be-cancelled-1.5437668

Time Out magazine’s (brief) article about living in Tokyo during the pandemic: https://www.timeout.com/tokyo/news/japan-hints-at-possibly-extending-current-covid-19-state-of-emergency-052421